5 Reasons to Embrace Running in the Heat

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77 degrees at 7:30 PM post tempo run

It’s hot here in San Diego. I live at the coast and homes here don’t come with A/C. In fact, most people who have A/C don’t run it (or the heat in the winter). We’re blessed to enjoy wonderful weather for 99.9% of the year. I truly can’t complain. So I won’t. Instead I’ll focus on all the GOOD that surrounds living in 80-90 degree weather streak without reprieve. (if you’re already snarking about me complaining about San Diego heat which I know pales in comparison to a lot of the US- in my defense, they are sending kids home from school early to get out of the heat and Target is SOLD OUT of fans!).

Just like pro-triathletes go to higher altitudes to train in tougher conditions in order to get faster, training in uncomfortable heat can also have benefits. I’m not saying go out and run at high noon in the middle of the desert with no water in order to get more fit. I’m simply saying, that with the proper precautions, training in this crazy heat might actually give me a boost come marathon race day.

Hot Sun Setting in San Diego

Hot Sun Setting in San Diego

A study was done by Santiago Lorenzo at the University of Oregon to prove the effectiveness of heat training on cyclists. He split a group of cyclists and had half of the group perform training in a 55 degree room and the other half in a 100 degree room. He put them through performance tests at the beginning and the end of the study (both in 55 degree rooms) and compared their improvements. The group who trained in the hot room’s performance improved by 6% and their VO2max improved 5%. The group who trained in the 55 degree room showed no improvements at all over the 10 day period.

Just like training in altitude, heat training can:

1) Increase your blood plasma levels.  The result is a greater cardiac output, and higher VO2 at a given effort level.

2) Help you acclimate to dehydration.

3) Change muscle cell enzymes to make an endurance athlete more efficient.

 Source 1 & Source 2

In addition to the takeaways from the study mentioned in 1-3, I think there are two more benefits to heat training:

4) It builds mental toughness. Pushing away excuses to skip a run because of the heat and tackling it (responsibly by taking water, taking it easier if needed, etc) can be a  great mental boost during tough moments in a race or even a future workout.

5) Help prepare you for undesirable race conditions. If you’ve already trained in tough conditions, you are going to be less likely to let a bad weather forecast freak you out.

One thing to keep in mind is that even though heat training might help make improvements in future performance, while you are training in high temperatures, you need to adjust your pace goals. It is totally fine to run a long run a minute or even more per mile slower in the heat and if you have a tempo or track workout planned, it’s smart to base your pace on perceived effort and/or heart rate. Also keep in mind that even if you’ve been training in the heat, you still aren’t going to perform as well at a race that is hot. You’ll still need to adjust your expectations but you will have a leg up on any competition who has not trained in the heat.

15 HOT Miles This Weekend in Mission Bay with Oiselle Teammate Laurel.

15 HOT Miles This Weekend in Mission Bay with Oiselle Teammate Laurel.

I definitely have noticed that I’ve acclimated to the heat over the last month or so of hard training in it. I always remind myself when I’m doing a key workout in the heat that I should not beat myself up about not going quite as fast as I would like, but instead focus on the effort. I’ve found that I’m not as bothered by running in the heat as I was when it first started to get so hot. I just carry extra water, electrolyte tabs and soak up the sweat!

Have you ever found that training in the heat helped you? Do you avoid running in the heat? 

CIM Marathon Training Week 3

Week three of training was a big one! I only ran 4 times but my total mileage was the highest of this training cycle due to the DobyMan 13.1 on Monday and a long run over the weekend. My only speed work this week was a threshold run on Wednesday which, due to the heat, wasn’t quite as fast as I had hoped. However, my long run over the weekend was the fastest I’ve ever done a long run in heart rate Zone 2 so with that and the high mileage, I’m calling the week a win!

On top of lots of workouts, there was plenty of fun too as we headed to Davis for Mike’s best friend’s wedding for a long weekend.

Monday: 

1.2 mile swim (45 minutes) and 13.1 mile run (Zone 2) as part of the DobyMan (we put on a mock 70.3 for our friend Brooke). The run itself took us a long time. We took it slow, took breaks (I actually forgot to bring my watch for this section so I don’t know the actual pace but it took over 2 hours) and enjoyed the scenery. The course itself was hilly and included ascending and descending Torrey Pines. By the end of the run it was very hot and my legs were very tired!

Just about to run up Torrey!

Just about to run up Torrey!

Tuesday: 

I had signed up for a 6 a.m. Club Pilates class in advance not really thinking about the DobyMan lasting until the mid-afternoon the previous day. However, I felt pretty good in class and didn’t push it too hard. Lesson of the morning: I really need to work on my planking!

That evening Mike and I went to the Padres game. Mike got some really good seats for free and even though it wasn’t the most action packed game I really enjoyed watching because I could actually see what was going on!

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Wednesday: 

I waited until after work to do my threshold run because I really wanted to sleep in! I wasn’t feeling like running and Mike was planning to do the workout at the same time as me (at least run the 2 mile warm-up with me) but ended up not feeling well and skipped it. As soon as he said he wasn’t going to run, I had the urge to either cut my workout short or move it to the next day too since my legs felt heavy, but I pushed past those thoughts and got it done. The workout was 2 mile warm-up, 2 x 15 minutes @ half marathon pace with 3 min recovery jog between, cool-down to finish (just over 2 miles). I had wanted to run the 2 15 minute segments at an average pace under 7:30, but due to the heavy legs and the heat, I came in slower (7:48 and 7:39 averages). I compared this to a couple of the times I did this workout leading up to San Diego RnR and my pace was slower this time. I didn’t beat myself up about it – instead I focused on the fact that it was a solid workout.

The sun is setting earlier and earlier these days ...

The sun is setting earlier and earlier these days …

Thursday: 

Luckily I had Asia to do an easy 5 mile run with me in the morning before work. That evening we flew out to Davis, California where Mike went to college to start his best friend’s wedding weekend festivities!

Friday: 

Rest day – I had to work a half day remote in the morning and we had wedding events in the afternoon.

Saturday: 

Mike and I continued our (not really) tradition of running long the morning before a wedding and shocking all non-running wedding guests who would later hear that we ran 16.5 miles. Mike and I ran on the trails through the beautiful UC Davis arboretum and then down a beautiful path through an olive tree grove before making our way onto a very long (and flat!) bike path. We ran the remainder of the run on the path until we hit just over 8 miles and turned around and made out way back into town, taking the path into town and then turning off to find one of Mike’s old houses in Davis. It was fun hearing more college memories and learning more about that campus that he loves so much. I was also happy because I felt pretty good and it was the fastest run (long or short!) that I’ve ever run in Zone 2. Woohoo!

Olive Trees

Olive Trees

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Wedding Fun!

Wedding Fun!

Sunday: 

I discovered a pretty cool website called DoYogaWithMe.com which allows you to search through their hundreds of free yoga videos available to be streamed instantly. I found a 42 minute hip, leg and lower back session for runners. It was super low-intensity and basically all stretching and was absolutely perfect. There is no way that I would have done that much stretching on my own so the videos are perfect! There are a bunch of shorter (20ish minute) videos as well that I want to try.

Weekly Totals: 

  • Miles Run: 43.1
  • Yards Swam: 2,100
  • Hours Strength/Stretching: 1.5
  • Total Time: ~10 hours

Do you continue training during weekends away? Have you ever done a  free yoga video from online? Any other website you recommend? 

A Short Story

It all began with a pair of shorts.

The Fall 2014 Oiselle Line (Previewed at Bird Camp!)

The Fall 2014 Oiselle Line (Previewed at Bird Camp!)

Oiselle founder Sally Bergesen wasn’t happy with the world of women’s running shorts and decided to do the obvious – start her own women’s running apparel company. This happened in 2007 and in the 7 years following, she has taken Oiselle from a dream to a successful and thriving reality.  As with all companies, there have been growing pains and bumps along the road but for every setback there have been many, many steps forward.

Sally Speaking at Bird Camp

Sally Speaking at Bird Camp

Although I’ve been wearing Oiselle for a couple years now and have been a member of the wonderful Oiselle Volee team for over a year, I actually had not yet pulled on a pair of Rogas shorts, the shorts that started it all, until this summer. Let me just leave it at this –the soft and flexible material, perfect length and fashionable design have won me over. They will certainly be my short of choice going forward.

Oiselle Rogas! Not pictured - cute grey patterned waist band!

Oiselle Rogas! Not pictured – cute grey patterned waist band!

But of course, Oiselle is much more than shorts. As I experienced first hand at Bird Camp this summer, Oiselle is not only a company but a community with empowers female runners (and all athletes) to strive for goals of all kinds and never give up. After hearing Sally speak from the heart at Bird Camp about her journey from runner to CEO and founder of Oiselle, I was even more convinced that being a part of the Oiselle family will not only help me get more admiring stares during my runs down the coast or in my Pilates classes, but is a company that I completely believe in and support with pride. Sally’s intentions for everything she has done for Oiselle has been in the name of making women feel better about themselves, inside and out.  

The motto, “Run Fast, Take Chances” embodies the company in more ways than one. Not only does Oiselle encourage runners to push further, it does the same with its business practices as well as its design. Oiselle is a small company but is already very well known in the running community, largely because of its commanding presence on social media and recently added influential teammate Kara Groucher.  But advertising only works if the product backs it up and in Oiselle’s case, it does. Oiselle’s running clothing is functional, yet constantly evolving to keep up with fashion trends.

Pro-Runner Kate Grace Looking Amazing on the Runway. Photo Source.

Pro-Runner Kate Grace Looking Amazing on the Runway. Photo Source.

Case in point, today 10 Oiselle athletes, running shorts tan lines and all, rocked brand new looks down the runway at the Nolcha Fashion Week in New York City for the second year in a row. There is no need to hire models to show off Oiselle gear because the point is to show the clothing on the people it’s designed for – runners. Among others, Oiselle unveiled the new elite racing kit (see Kara Groucher wear it at the NY Marathon this year!), amazing new tights with flattering and curve-popping lines, an adorable new patterned sports bra and a spring jacket. I’ve already put myself on a spending freeze after my recent shopping spree after the recent Fall line launch, but I’m going to be saving up for Spring 2015 NOW!

Kara Groucher Sporting the New Oiselle Pro Racing Kit (source)

Kara Groucher Sporting the New Oiselle Pro Racing Kit (source)]

What do you look for in your running clothes? Have you tried Oiselle?

CIM Marathon Training Week 2

As of the end of Week 2 we are at 14 weeks until race day! It definitely is going to be here before we know it but I’m feeling good about where I’m at right now. I think so far I’m doing a good job of adding a little more volume than I have in the past while also making sure I’m rested for key workouts. This week was a little less mileage but more intensity. 

Monday:
AM: In the morning I ran 6 easy miles (Zone 1-2) with Asia and finished the workout with 4 x 8 second hill sprints. 

Tuesday: 
AM: I could really tell I needed yoga after the previous week’s training and had hoped to get it in Monday night but ended up working too late. So I got up early (but not that early thanks to P90X3’s 30 minute workouts) and did P90X3 yoga. I didn’t regret it for a second because I felt 100% better afterward! 

PM: After work I met up with Mike at Torrey Pines for one of our key workouts for the week. The workout was a 1 mile warm-up followed by 6 x 3 minute hill repeats up the steepest grade of Torrey Pines (about 8% grade). I wore my heart rate monitor and my heart rate was well into Zone 4 for all 6 repeats. My legs AND my lungs were burning. The recovery was just a jog back recovery and then we wrapped it up with a mile recovery jog to the car. The sun was setting during our workout and although it was painful, it was beautiful! Both Mike and I finished the workout with a good case of Runners High. 

Ready to Run Repeats!

Ready to Run Repeats!

Wednesday: 

Rest Day – Girls night happy hour in the evening

Thursday: 

I got up to run in the morning but ended up going back to bed (the previous night’s girls night happy hour was lingering). It worked out better because both Mike and Asia were able to join me for my evening progression run. The workout was not supposed to be intense. It was 8.4 miles with the final 4.2 miles at “moderate” pace. Surprisingly, my legs felt amazing on this run. They felt even better once we turned around and started to pick up the pace. I was easily running low/mid 8 min/miles and it did not even feel close to hard. By the end, i was cruising at a 7:30 pace and Asia and Mike were both telling me that this was no longer “moderate” but I felt great! My legs were light, my breathing was manageable. It was one of the best runs I’ve had in a while and I finished feeling refreshed and energized and ready for more. 

Friday: 

Sunrise Miles

Sunrise Miles

AM: 5 mile easy run. I was proud of myself for getting up for this one! My friend Allison canceled on me last minute and I was SO tempted not to run but got up anyway.

At lunch I headed back to the Club Pilates studio near my office. It was just me and one other girl, as I can only assume most people were either taking the day off or had a short day because of the long holiday weekend. This again was the Level 2.5 pilates class so it was EXTRA hard, especially since there were only two of us. There seemed to be a focus on leg and glute work and I left the class wondering how this would affect my long run the next day!

Saturday: 

This was the big one! The aspect of my training plan that most drew me to it, and also most scares me about it, is that a lot of the long runs contain significant portions at or close to goal marathon pace. I firmly believe that these training runs do more mentally for me than any other run and Brad Hudson also firmly believes that these kinds of runs prepare you for the marathon better than any other. Saturday’s long run was the first of these tests of pace and mental strength.

Ready to RUN!

Ready to RUN!

The workout was a 1 mile warm-up followed by 10 miles at marathon goal pace +10-20 sec/mile, completed with a 1 mile cool-down.Mike also is training hard for CIM so we did our warm-up together by running out and back to our house so we could do a familiar 10 mile out and back route. We had slept in and then eaten a light breakfast and drank our coffee so by the time we got on the road, it was past 9:30 and the sun was blazing and it was hot (mid 70s probably to start). As soon as we started running I knew it would be a rough run but I didn’t want to give up. I gave myself a little mental out from the beginning – it was hot and my legs were tired. Maybe it’d be ok if I didn’t quite run 8:20-8:30 min/miles. Once I started the race pace portion of the run, I knew it’d be a long 10 miles. My legs were tired and it was very hot – I was sweating buckets within minutes. I tried to not pay attention to my watch and just run at a pace that I thought I could hold for 10 miles.

I was surprised when my watch clicked off the first mile at 8:26. Not bad! I kept the effort the same and the next mile was 8:17 and 8:16 the next. However, I wasn’t feeling great. I wore my heart rate monitor and I noticed when my heart rate was in low Zone 4/high zone 3, things were ok, but when it popped into 5 bpm within the top of Zone 4, things weren’t great. Around mile 3.5 there is a hill which heads up into Solana Beach and I started to feel bad. It felt so hot. I kept telling myself that all I had to do was get to the turnaround at mile 5. And then once I got there, I could run back to Fletcher Cove and get more water (it was already more than halfway gone). These little goals really helped. 10 miles is a LONG time to maintain a hard effort.

Another thing that helped was that my training plan had called this a “HARD long run.” So despite it being slower than race pace, mentally I knew it was going to be hard. Instead of wondering how I’d ever run 26.2 miles just faster than my current pace, I focused on the positives. After the turnaround (where I had a Gu) and the water stop (where I poured water all of my head and down by back) I got my 2nd wind (although I was now running into a headwind). Miles 3 and 4 had been in the high 8s but 5 and 6 were ni the low 8s. I kept it going and somehow mustered the energy to finsih strong with a 8 min/mile. I finished 10 miles at an average pace of 8:26 in not ideal conditions on tired legs. It felt good! Mike was waiting for me and I was happy to hear that he also crushed his run. He ran my cool-down lap with me and we continued the runner’s high the rest of the day and into the night at the Jack Johnson Concert!

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Sunday:

Rest day (with plenty of walking for active recovery). I had wanted to get in some yoga but it just didn’t happen. Instead I slept 10 hours, got breakfast with Mike, took a walk around town, took a 2 hour nap and had dinner with friends.

Rest Day Goodness!

Rest Day Goodness!


Weekly Totals

  • Total Miles Run: 37.5
  • Hours Strength Training: 1.5
  • Total Time: ~7.5 hours

What key workouts in marathon or half marathon training do you find the most beneficial mentally and/or physically? 

The 1st Annual DobyMan

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Sometimes you meet people who inspire you to be better. Last year I met Brooke, a cheerful and friendly woman who I would soon come to find out is also wickedly fast and equally humble. She works at The ACTIVE Network with Mike and was in training for her first sprint triathlon. As I got to know her during the ACTIVEx workouts as well as last year’s CAxMP, I had a feeling that she had the drive to become an Ironman someday. After she easily and accidentally won first in her age group at her first sprint triathlon (and it was a competitive one!) despite riding a borrowed aluminum road bike without clip-in pedals and having almost zero formal swim training, I knew it was only a matter of time before she’d be on the quest for Mike Reilly’s voice calling her name.

Luckily, good things do happen to great people and Brooke won a free entry to an Ironman of her choice at least year’s ACTIVEx holiday party. She chose this year’s Ironman Arizona and quickly transformed from an injury-prone former collegiate runner to a triathlete with a cycling addiction. She fell in love with the bike and her enthusiasm for long solo rides is seriously something I wish I possessed. More so than those solo rides, she loves group workouts and since meeting her I have shared my goal of qualifying for Boston and she has been an amazing support system for me. Her kind words and patience with my slower-than-her pace have fueled many runs together. On the flip side, I am able to share my Ironman knowledge with her. We, in turn, have inspired each other to achieve goals that perhaps on our own would seem just a little bit more out of reach.

Sunset at Torrey the day we committed to do DobyMan!

Sunset at Torrey the day we committed to do DobyMan!

On of the aforementioned runs, which also happened to be a day when all of our legs were fresh, the sunset over Torrey Pines was particularly epic and we were taken over by a strong case of Runners High, I was asking Brooke about her racing plans going into the upcoming Ironman and we realized that there was no feasible 70.3 race for her to participate in before the big day. Meanwhile, Mike has had the idea for a DobyMan (a play on our last name) 70.3 for a few years now, which ideally would have taken place on the same day as the La Jolla Half Marathon (which has the reputation as being the most challenging half marathon in San Diego as the course contains the brutal climb over Torrey Pines).

The DobyMan would begin at the La Jolla Cove with a 1.2 mile swim to the La Jolla Shores, continue with a 56 mile bike ride through the rolling hills of Rancho Santa Fe, and finish with the La Jolla Half Marathon (on race day). Of course his plan if executed would required waking up at 2 a.m. to actually get to the start of the race in time to run it, so it has always been kind of a pipe dream. However, on this particular afternoon at Torrey Pines, we decided although the original dream might not happen, we could use Mike’s inspiration to create Brooke an awesome 70.3 race.

Suited up and ready to swim!

Suited up and ready to swim!

And so it happened. This morning Brooke, Mike, another of their co-workers Jinna, met up at the La Jolla Cove around 6:30 so we’d have toes in the water at 7 a.m. I admit, I almost bailed on the swim, as I haven’t swam since the La Jolla Half Marathon and I haven’t swam 1.2 miles since…. possibly the Ironman. Not to mention, my recently discovered fear of sharks was putting bad thoughts in my mind. But, my FOMO took over and I faced my fears and swam 1.2 lovely miles in the ocean with all the little fishies, a few seals (permanent residents of the La Jolla Cove), and three friends. The water was warm and surprisingly it wasn’t too hard to swim for just over 40 minutes in the open water.

La Jolla Cove Seal

La Jolla Cove Seal

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Although the transitions were lightning quick, we got Brooke out of the water and on her bike and then Mike and I headed to a local breakfast place to stuff our faces with pancakes and eggs while Brooke biked 56 miles (she choose a route with a whopping 3,500 feet of climbing). I felt lazy for a second then remembered I was going to have to run a half marathon in a few hours. After breakfast we headed out onto the course and were able to find Brooke out on the course Brooke thanks to a stalkerish iPhone app.

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Due it being horse racing season at the Del Mar fairgrounds, we opted to move the start of the La Jolla Half Marathon to the Solana Beach Train station, which in the end worked out perfectly. Brooke showed up at the car close to noon and she changed and fueled up and we were off. Mike and I had just come off of a hard week of marathon training including a long run with 10 miles at near goal race pace on Saturday, and despite a rest day yesterday, my legs weren’t exactly fresh for our “race.” It was also high noon, close to 80 degrees, high humidity and very sunny with a 10 mph headwind (too bad the course doesn’t go the other way!?). Despite these not-so-ideal race conditions, we had a great time traversing 13.1 miles together. It obviously helped that we were running through some of the most scenic vistas in San Diego, or in our humble opinion, the world.

The the right of that big hill we were about to climb is the finish line in the distance.

The the right of that big hill we were about to climb is the finish line in the distance.

View from the run course

View from the run course

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Along the way we started to fantasize about finishing and decided that four criteria must be met in order for someone to be named a “DobyMan.”

1) Swim 1.2 miles in the cove, bike 56 miles, and run 90% of the La Jolla Half Marathon course

2) Start AND finish the course in the cove. All participants must jump in the ocean at the end of the race to be considered finishers.

Ocean Finish!

Ocean Finish!

3) All participants must swim and run together. No Aquathon participants may start the run without waiting for the triathlon participant to dismount the bike. No triathlon participant may run ahead of other participants. All must finish together.

4) Beer

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I’m happy to say that Brooke is now a DobyMan. Mike and I are the first Aquathon finishers and Jinna is the first swim course finisher. I’m not sure there is a better way to spend a Monday away from work. All are welcome to next year’s 2nd annual event!

Have you ever put on your own event? Would you do the DobyMan or a part of it!? 

CIM Marathon Training Week 1

Marathon training officially kicked off this last week. This last Sunday marked 15 weeks until race day – it sounds far away and so close at the same time. when looking forward to events I like to think back to what I was doing during the same time period in the past ( i.e. what happened 15 weeks ago?!) to put things into perspective. In this case, 15 weeks ago was Mother’s Day weekend, just after my sister in law’s bachelorette party and right before her wedding. That doesn’t seem very long ago at all… CIM will be here before I know it!

Overall, this is the fastest I’ve ever been going into marathon training. I’m also doing more mileage early on than before (although before Eugene I did do quite a bit of mileage early on thinking I might still be racing the Surf City full in February). I feel like I know what works for my body now and I’m focusing on those things rather than following an exact plan. This is all part of the Adaptive Running technique explained in Brad Hudson’s book “Run Faster” which I have been using for my training.

I’m also keeping what I learned from Maria’s coaching with me in terms of keeping my easy runs EASY (i.e. slow, heart rate zone 1 or 2) and not worrying about pace. At times I do second guess that running 10 min miles will somehow allow me to run a marathon at 8 min/miles, but knowing that I used this technique for the half marathon and busted out 7:38 min/miles helps keep me focused. The key workouts are when pace matters, and the only thing that matters on endurance runs is keeping my heart rate in Zone 2. Being rested and ready for the key workouts so that I can make improvements during them is what will get me to my goal.

This week was full of friends and trails! Every run was with a friend and a large portion of the runs were on the trails. The nights and mornings are getting a little darker but it’s still light enough to run without a headlamp before and after work. I know this won’t last forever so I’m cherishing every moment while I can!

Monday:

Rest day – Post Bird Camp, my legs were ready for some R&R.

Tuesday:  

I recently purchased a Groupon for a Club Pilates studio (this is the same pilates franchise that I go to in Encinitas) right near my work. I took my first class at lunch. The class was good (and I was sore the next day) but I’m not sure I loved the teacher. I’ll have to give it another shot before making my final decision. But the convenience of the lunchtime workout is amazing!

That evening I met up with Brooke and Mike for our weekly Torrey Tuesday run. We did the same route as last week but this time my legs weren’t quite as fresh and I didn’t push it as hard. We ran up the road to the top, down the trail, up the trail and down the road, enjoying a beautiful sunset the entire way. In total, 6.4 miles with 1,200 feet of climbing. 

Torrey Pines - No filter

Torrey From Below

Torrey - No Filter!

Torrey From Above

Wednesday:

I started the morning with an easy Zone 1 run with my friend Allison. I ran 1 mile before she arrived and we ran nearly another 4 together, for a total of 4.9 recovery miles.

Thursday:

Progression Run. Mike and I have started to make Thursdays our mid-week long(ish) run day. This is also part of the Run Faster schedule, although the plan has us running 10 miles (I am generally modifying the plan to be slightly lower mileage). We ran 8.4 miles in total, with the last 4.2 miles “moderate.” I progressed in effort, and staying in the mid 8s for the first couple of miles and then completed the final 1.2 miles at goal marathon pace (8-8:10).

That night Mike and I headed downtown for date night, starting with drinks and dinner at a fun restaurant (with great beer and sweet potato fries being the highlight) and the Jason Mraz concert!

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Friday:

I headed back to Club Pilates at lunch, this time for my very first Level 2.5 class. I typically take Level 2 classes as non of the Level 2.5s at the Encinitas location take place at a time I can make it. This class was HARD! I loved it!! I will definitely be heading back. The major difference in the levels seems to be the amount of time you hold each pose. On Tuesday we were getting out of plank and other positions just as it was getting hard, and on Friday my entire body was shaking. Love the shake.

Saturday:

Brooke had told Mike and I that she knew a 14 mile trail run loop somewhat near our house (Cardiff/Rancho Santa Fe) so we met up with her Saturday morning so she could show us the ropes. This run was hard. There wasn’t a lot of climbing, but there was quite a bit of running on loose sand (at times it felt like we were running on a beach) and a few miles on a horse trail that was covered in big bits of loose bark (also feels like running in sand). In the end, I ran 14.6 miles and I was pooped! Mike and I stayed together the whole run, but going forward we won’t be running our long runs together. He needs to go ahead of me and run a bit faster to make his own improvements.

Running Buddies!

Running Buddies! Note the new Oiselle tank!

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Sunday:

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Sunday night’s sunset – they have been amazing lately!

I met up with Asia for a run on Sunday morning and we realized we hadn’t run together in weeks! That’s definitely rare for us. I ran 2 miles before we met up and then she and I ran another 5ish, totaling 7.3 miles (Zone 2). My legs actually felt pretty fresh on this run despite the long run on Saturday, although we did run slow.

Weekly Totals:

  • Miles Ran: 41.6
  • Hours Strength: 1.66
  • Total Time: ~8.5 hours

How many weeks do you usually train for a marathon? Anyone else a Mraz fan?

CIM Pre-Season Weeks 5 & 6 and Long Beach Marathon Entry Giveaway Winner!

The conclusion of Oiselle Team Bird Camp also marked the end of my “pre-season” training for CIM. The race is now just 16 weeks away and I’m officially training. I have so much going through my mind regarding how to approach my training for CIM now that I’ve learned so much at camp. Not only that, but I’m 100% inspired and excited to get down to business and train hard!

Since I have 2 weeks to re-cap and my Bird Camp post summed up a lot of Week 6, I’ll be fairly brief (which as you know is a struggle for me).

CIM Pre-Season Week 5

Monday: After work I got in an easy 5 mile run with 2 x 8 second steep hill repeats plus Ab Ripper X. I ran with Asia and although it was getting late, I still convinced myself to do my steep hill repeats (and I think I found the perfect hill for them) and even Ab Ripper! I think knowing Vegas was coming up on Friday helped.

Tuesday:

AM: P90X3 Total Synergistics – strength workout alternating between upper body, lower body and core moves.

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PM: 6 x 800 track workout, 6.5 miles in total. I met Mike and my friend Brooke at the UCSD Track for one last speed workout (I was thinking this could possibly help with the 5k at Bird Camp). However, Brooke, who ran on the University of Washington track team in college, warned me that I was probably running my 800s a little too hard. She explained that the effort shouldn’t be all out (I have a blog post in the works to explain how to determine your track interval speed) and instead of focusing on doing my 800s as fast as possible (last time I did them I aimed for all sub 6:40 pace), I picked a 7 min/mile average as my goal pace (based on the Yasso 800 workout). Brooke tagged along for my intervals despite the fact that she wasnt’ having much trouble keeping up, and we ran pretty consistent splits. I asked her if I was allowed to go all out for the final 800 and she told me I could drop down to a 6:50 pace but no lower. However as soon as I started running I knew that was going to go out the window and I pushed hard and finished strong. I argued the mental boost of the final fast 800 was worth whatever extra recovery time it caused!

Paces for the 800s:  6:59, 6:55, 6:58, 6;57, 7:01, 6:28. Including warm-up, recovery periods and cool-down the run totaled 6.5 miles.

Wednesday: P90X3 Yoga. While I still had intentions of finishing up P90X3 before Bird Camp, this sadly was the last P90X3 workout I completed. With the demands of a big project at work, I’ve just not been able to fit in as many of these as I wanted. However, I’m not dwelling on it – running and my career have been more important to me lately than P90X3.

Thursday: With a trip for Vegas on the horizon and knowledge that I would NOT be feeling great enough for a long run on Sunday when I returned, I completed my 10 mile long run in the morning. I was VERY happy that Mike joined me and stayed with me the whole time, even though this was a Zone 2 run for me. We did pick up the pace for the final 2 miles and ironically those 2 miles felt the best of the 10!

Friday: Easy recovery 5 miles with my friend Allison, all in Zone 1 (recovery).

Saturday & Sunday: Walking the Vegas strip and dancing in the clubs to celebrate Asia’s #RoadtoOsborne. This counts as cross-training right!?

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Weekly Totals:

  • Miles Run: 26.5
  • Hours of Strength: 1
  • Total Time: ~6 hours

CIM Pre-Season Week 6

I won’t go into details on the Bird Camp workouts since I talked about them in my recap about the weekend. Overall this week was great – 100% of my runs were on the trails and 100% of workouts were with friends. Overall, it was a win!

Monday: 6.5 mile run at Torrey Pines with Brooke and Mike. We ran up the steep road section, ran down the trail, then ran back up the trail and down the road. My legs felt really good on this run and we pushed the pace for most of the run – we ended up running it a full minute per mile faster than the last time! Shows what fresh legs can do.

Tuesday & Wednesday: Rest Days. I worked a long day Tuesday at work and Wednesday was Bird Camp travel day.

Thursday:

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AM: 2.5 mile trail run & 20 min activation exercises at Bird Camp in the morning

PM:  1 mile warm-up, 3.1 mile 5k race, 1 mile cool-down in the evening.

Friday: 7 Mile Trail Run (1,800 feet of climbing!) ; 45 minutes JasYoga; 30 minutes “The Dozen” & Running Drills

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Saturday: 15 mile trail run (2,000 feet of climbing); 30 minutes JasYoga

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Sunday: 4.5 mile recovery run 

Weekly Totals:

  • Miles Run: ~40.5 miles
  • Hours of Strength/Yoga: 1.5
  • Total Time: ~8.25 hours

Long Beach Marathon Giveaway Winner!

Last week I blogged about tune-up races and how I’m using the Long Beach Half Marathon as a tune-up race for my goal marathon (CIM). I was given an entry from Florastor, one of the sponsors of the Long Beach marathon, to give away on my blog.

I used random.org to select a winner and the winner is: Clarinda (@Enjoythecourse)!! Congratulations!  Please email me at nwoyski at gmail.com for information on how to claim the prize!

Do you ever use trail running to get stronger for road racing?

Bird Camp

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When I got the email sometime late last year mentioning the possibly of a Oiselle Team running camp in August, I never could have imagined that Bird Camp (as it was coined sometime in the planning process) would be as amazing as it was. To sum it up, 100ish Oiselle Team runners convened in the spectacular outdoor paradise that is Bend, Oregon for five days of trail running, hiking, yoga, clinics & group discussions with every moment in between filled with fellowship and food. I can’t even begin to thank Sally, Lesko, Lauren, Kate, the wonderful women from Jasyoga, and every other person who put together this outstanding experience. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience (that I hope to experience more than once in a lifetime!).

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Oiselle Teammate Sarah & I coordinated our flights so we could make the long trek from Southern California to Bend together and left out of Orange County, using our 3 hour layover to get an early taste of Oregon craft beer. Upon arrival at the airport, we were enthusiastically greeted by some of our teammates and whisked away to Seven Mountain Resort. That evening was spent getting to know our new roommates (the rooms were condos with multiple beds and rooms) and as many fellow teammates as possible. I shared a room with Amy, who I hadn’t met prior to camp and we became fast friends and spent a lot of the weekend together. Cindi, a hilarious Oiselle Rep from the Chicago area, and Sun, a stylish & incredibly sincere woman from Wisconsin.

Roommates in Blue!

Roommates in Blue! Cindi , Sun, me & Amy

At one point we took over the hotel bar, a sea of excited voices wearing matching Bird Camp sweatshirts. Dinner was followed by welcome speeches, a special talk with pro triathlete Linsey Corbin and an icebreaker activity in small groups. It was fun to finally meet teammates whose blogs I read or who I regularly tweet with or follow on Instagram and equally as great to meet completely new teammates, all of us from different places with different reasons for running but brought together thanks to Oiselle.

Bird Camp Schwag!

Bird Camp Schwag!

Thursday’s main activity was the evening 5k at Deschutes Brewery, but the morning was still busy! We started with an optional 15 minute meditation led by the Jas Yoga ladies and then the Oiselle Team professional runners (aka Little Bird) led us through their warm-up activation exercises (which for many of us seemed like a mini-workout!). Despite the impending evening 5k, I still decided to go out with most of the women and do an easy trail run on the river trail right near the resort. The views were spectacular even on our short 3 mile jog – trails just don’t look like this in coastal San Diego!

Trail Near Camp

Trail Near Camp

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After the run we were in for a morning of learning, starting with Jay Dicharry who spoke about physical therapy and led us through exercises we can do on our own to strengthen and stabilize our muscles for running (this also seemed like a workout at times!). Jay’s presentation was followed by Steph Howe, the recent women’s winner of the 2014 Western States 100 mile trail run. Steph is a nutritionist and spoke about nutrition requirements for runners – thinking about what she must eat during a 100 mile race was pretty entertaining!

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That night we all boarded buses and headed down to downtown Bend for the Deschutes 5k. We were all wearing our brand new 2014-2015 season singlets and the air was thick with excitement. The vibe on the bus was pretty incredible and to steal an analogy from Sarah, it felt like we were all high school teammates headed to an out of town game. The race itself probably deserves its own race report but to sum it up – it was tough but rewarding. It was an incredible feeling to finish with so many teammates cheering my name. The post party (free delicious craft beer!) was a great reward for all of our hard work.

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When I woke up Friday I remember thinking that I couldn’t believe we still had 2 1/2 days left of camp! It was all so incredible so far and I didn’t know how Thursday could be topped. The views from the previous days running were easily surpassed when we arrived at Smith Rock. We broke into three groups – a flatter, medium distance run along the river, a 4 mile, steep hike up the mountain and a 7 mile loop called the Burma Trail with a 1.5 mile steep climb with rewarding views. Most headed for the hike but I wanted to take the challenge of the harder loop as well as experience the epic views.

On our way up the Burma Trail!

On our way up the Burma Trail!

I broke off with a group of about 8 girls in total, and 6 of us stayed together for most of the run. The girls I was running with were definitely faster than me but they stayed back and we took long enough breaks that it didn’t seem like I held them back too much! Not to mention, most of us weren’t trying to break any land speed records the day after a 5k on a hilly trail. During the later part of the run I got to know Susie, a Great Britain native who now resides in Hawaii. As often happened on the trip, we only realized after our run while we were eating our picnic lunch that we already followed each other on Instagram and Twitter (despite having our Twitter handles on our name tags).

Top of Burma Trail

Top of Burma Trail

oiselle team bird camp

Shortly after returning to the resort, we had the privilege of a 45 minute restorative yoga session with Jasyoga. The yoga was gentle and focused primarily on stretching and breathing and was the perfect post-race and post-trail run recovery. My roommates Amy and Jun and I headed to the pool with a large group of other women after yoga for an hour of sun-soaking and chatting. I got to spend a bit more time with the women who make it all happen at headquarters and that the highlight for me (plus seeing all the new Oiselle swim suits in person was pretty awesome).

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As if we needed more exercise, we headed out at 4 p.m. to the field for Lesko’s famous “The Dozen” workout which consists of 12 core/strength exercises done in succession. The final move is a descending set of pushups, starting with 10 and working down to 1 with 20 seconds rest between. Brutal! As soon as the Dozen was over, Lauren Fleshman and Kate Grace led us through various form drills. We had the wonderful privilege of witnessing Fast Kate’s gorgeous stride up close!

Kate Grace in Action!

Kate Grace in Action!

That evening we had a make your own burger bar (and later S’mores!) and Q&A with the elite runners – Kate, Lauren Steph and even Kara Groucher via Skype! I absolutely loved hearing things from their perspective. Throughout the weekend I had the chance to talk to each of these incredible athletes in person and I was so happy to learn that they are normal, down to earth women who are *almost* just like us (just a lot faster….). I got the impression from all of the pro athletes as well as from Sally, Lesko, & Kristin that they would love to have real friendships with us – at one point early in the weekend Lauren said, ‘don’t be afraid to say hi!’ and later when I introduced myself she even told me she knew who I was! Another point in the weekend Lesko named off each of the names of a group of 10 of us who were wading in the river with her. These women care about each and every one of the runners on the team and it was extremely evident in their attitude as well as the thought and hard work they put into putting together this weekend for us.

With Lauren!

With Lauren! #Fangirl

Previewing the Fall '14 Line!

Previewing the Fall ’14 Line!

Saturday morning was the grand finale – the long run! We broke up naturally into groups and headed out on the trail that runs along the Deschutes River, just outside our resort. There were two landmarks suggested as turnaround points – a waterfall/water stop about 5 miles in and a waterfall about 7.5/8 miles in. I decided to go for the longer route. For the first 5 miles I ran with a group of about 10ish women who all just fell into place running together. We chatted and stopped for photos and enjoyed each other’s company. I was shocked at how great my legs felt despite the previous days’ mileage and climbing.

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Around mile 5, the large portion of the group turned back and Holly and I continued on. Luckily it was shortly after that we met up with three more ladies (Robyn, Julia and Jenna) who I had previously talked about going the long route with but had gotten separated from. Oddly enough, we were all wearing the same shade of blue top and the “Blue Birds” as we nicknamed ourselves, ran the remaining miles together, alternating who led the 5 bird pack every 10 minutes. The time flew by as we chatted, ran, and took in the gorgeous scenery. It was one of those long runs that completely reconfirms why you’re a runner (and also why I blog – it brought me these people!).

The Blue Birds!

The Blue Birds!

oiselle team birdcamp

Post run we had a little bit of time to eat lunch and shower before our final Jasyoga season – this time only 30 minutes and again, very, very focused on recovery and stretching. It was the perfect way to recover from the last few days of running. Shortly after, we were all boarding buses and heading into downtown Bend for a free afternoon until our final group dinner and event. A group of us headed to 10 Barrel Brewing company for beer, food and more fun.

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The nighttime event was a great event held at Crows Feet Commons, a cycling  & outdoor adventure store that also houses a coffee house, tap room, and wine bar. The river-front outdoor portion of the store regularly hosts events and we were lucky to enjoy tacos, donuts, and beverages at sunset. There were speeches, awards and finally, a live band which quickly prompted a dance party. The dance party then moved to the nearby bar for more shenanigans.

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oiselle team bird camp

Sunday morning wrapped up the weekend with an optional run (I ran just about 4.5 miles with Amy and Kim) and brunch. A lot of the women were already gone or on their way out while we ate brunch. As I reflected on the weekend, the overarching theme of my thoughts was gratitude. I am so thankful to be a part of this amazing group of women and so happy that I was able to make it to Bend for the first (annual?) Bird Camp. My experience far exceeded my expectations and I’ve come out of camp not only more prepared to grow as a runner, but with a group of women I can call my Oiselle Family with certainty.

The Value of Tune Up Races & Long Beach Marathon Free Race Entry Giveaway

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A Tune-Up Race is a shorter race (or in some cases, a race of equal distance) leading up to your goal race. According to Runner’s World, no single workout better prepares us for a goal race than a tune-up race. While we can stimulate the physical demands of racing by running hard intervals or a time trail, that simulation is far removed from the experience of toeing the line.

If you’ve ever raced, you know that there is a lot more to a race than simply running hard. Racing before a big race gives you a chance to practice taper (even if it’s just a mini-one), your pre-race routine and nutrition, race fueling, and pacing. Although you might get a ltitle nervous before a time trial or tempo run, race-day nerves can’t be completely simulated. Tune Up Races also give you a chance to see what you’re made of. They can be huge confidence boosters if they give you do well and great learning experiences if you fall short of expectations.

Regina Joyce, former Olympian and current running coach, recommends the following tune -up race timeline for the marathon: “run a 10k early in your preparation, then a half marathon as far out as you can, maybe five to six weeks, and then after the taper, run a 5k one week to 10 days before the marathon”

Without even realizing it until now, I’m taking Regina’s advice. I’ve scheduled a 10k trail tune-up race for September which is 11 weeks from race day, a half marathon 8 weeks out, and a 5k on Thanksgiving Day which is 10 days before the marathon. The 10k and the 5k fall on Saturday and Thursday, respectively, which means that I can still get in my long run for the weekend. The half marathon will simply be a cut-back week with a very short taper.

The advice I took to heart most from the Runner’s World article is that you should NOT train harder or longer if your tune-up race is dissappointing. If anything, it probably means you needed to rest and recover more. You can take lessons from the race from nutrition or pacing mistakes and work on them, but adding more mileage or speed-work to your routine simply becuase you thought you could run a tune-up race a few minutes faster than you did is not smart. Trust in your plan (assuming you have one – if you didn’t maybe it’s time to get a plan!) and continue training.

Mike and Me After The Long Beach Half Marathon in 2011

Mike and Me After The Long Beach Half Marathon in 2011

The half marathon I’ve decided to run is the half at the Long Beach Marathon. I ran this race in 2011 as a tune-up race for the Surf City Marathon (ultimately I ended up dropping down to the half) and I really enjoyed the race and even scored a 30 second PR. The course is incredibly beautiful, quite flat/fast, and since it’s so close to my hometown of Huntington Beach, I have a place to stay and family to come cheer me on. This year I’ve tried to recruit family members to run the half or the 5k with me (I’ll let you know when they actually sign up as to how successful I’ve been but I’m hopeful my peer-pressure has been annoying enough!). The Long Beach Marathon or Half is one of the three races you must complete consequtively to earn the “Beach Cities Challenge” medal and considering that the other two races in the series (Surf City and OC) are also set on ocean-front property, it’s not a hard decision to register.

With My Massive Beach Cities Challenge Medal after Running the OC Marathon in 2012

With My Massive Beach Cities Challenge Medal after Running the OC Marathon in 2012

The makers of Florastor, a sponsor of the Long Beach Marathon reached out to me with a complimentary entry for any of the Long Beach Marathon events (marathon, half marathon, 5k) for me and a reader. I was not paid or asked to promote Florastor in exchange for the entry. Florastor is an all natural probiotic supplement which helps keep intestinal flora in balance, benefiting intestinal health by facilitating the absorption of nutritions and breaking down undigested carbohydrates. If you’d like to learn more about Florastor, this all natural, vegetarian, gentle, yeast-based priobiotic, visit www.florastor.com.

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Free Long Beach Half Marathon Entry Contest

To enter the contest to win a FREE entry to either the half, full or 5k at the Long Beach Marathon, please complete one or both of the following by this Sunday, August 17th. The winner will be announced early next week on my blog so please check back to see if you have won!

1 Entry For Completion of Each (2 entries maximum):

1) Comment on this blog post with your desire to enter to the contest.

2)  Follow me on Twitter (FitnessFatale) if you don’t already and tweet/re-tweet the link to this blog post and mention my handle (so I know that you did it!)

May the odds ever be in your favor!

What lessons have you learned during a tune-up race?

CIM Pre-Season Week 4

Highlight of the Week - Running the Lusardi Loop!

Highlight of the Week – Running the Lusardi Loop!

If I were running a business, I’d say that last week was the soft launch of marathon training. I keep changing my mind as to when marathon training “officially” starts. Since I’ve been calling the 5 weeks between Cabo and Oiselle Camp (which by the way starts next Wednesday!) my Pre-Season I’ll stick with that but really it felt like last week was the kickoff of marathon training. 
 
I’ve decided going forward to start including two things in each of my weekly recaps to hopefully keep them more interesting and also help me reflect on the week. Similar to Daily Mile, the first thing will be a general summary of how I felt training went this week. Second, I’ll pick one highlight of the week. 

So let’s get started:
 
Overall this week I felt GREAT!
 
The highlight of my week was: Running the Lusardi loop with Mike on Saturday. Being out on the trails felt amazing and it was incredibly peaceful and beautiful out there. I don’t worry about pace or listen to music on the trail and the time always seems to fly by. It was also incredible to see our favorite trail for the first time since the recent San Diego fires. A large section of it was completely torched. Most of it was black but there were parts where life had survived and bright green grass and leaves poked through the devastation. 

Lusardi Loop Devastation

Lusardi Loop Devastation


 
Monday: I slept in and in the evening went for an easy run with Mike. It was the day after the Solana Beach Triathlon so I wanted to keep things easy. We ran about 4.2 miles and I didn’t bring my watch – just kept it easy!

Tuesday: In the morning I got up and did P90X3 “The Challenge.” This is the one where you pick a number of push-ups and pull-ups (assisted) and try to keep the same number throughout. I picked 17 push-ups and 12 pull-ups which was 2 more per set than the last time I did the workout. I made it through! For the final burn-out session I held plank and side plank instead of adding more push-ups and pull-ups. 

After work I met up with Mike and Brooke to run at Torrey Pines. We ran easy up the road portion (which is steep so it’s not really easy) and then snaked our way down through the trails to the beach. We ran back to the start on the beach and then back to our cars for a total of just about 5.5 miles of running. It was absolutely beautiful and with two friends to run with, it barely felt like work! 

Torrey Pines with Brooke and Mike!

Torrey Pines with Brooke and Mike!

Sunset at Torrey Pines

Sunset at Torrey Pines

Torrey

Torrey


Wednesday: Rest Day. I needed to sleep in and I had a late night at work. 

Thursday: In the morning Mike and I set out to do our first Progression Run from the marathon training plan we’re loosely following in Brad Hudson’s “Run Faster” book. The book’s plan actually called for 10 miles with 5 at “moderate” pace but since in general the mileage is higher than I’d like in the plan (and 10 miles before work is typically not easy for me to fit in before work!), we ran to Fletcher Cove and back, for a total of 8.4 miles, with the second half being “moderate” pace. My goal for the moderate section was anywhere between 8:30-8:45 but I found even that pace to be a challenge at times. I just focused on keeping my effort harder than Zone 2 but not a tempo run. I finished the run exhausted! I think it was a combination of not having a big enough dinner, not eating more than a banana before the run and the heat and humidity (up to 90% humidity lately in San Diego). And possibly not being recovered from the triathlon yet. Either way, it wasn’t a great run but I reminded myself that I’ve been in this spot before – at the very beginning of any training cycle some of the workouts kind of really suck, but eventually they get easier. 

Friday: Although my P90X3 schedule actually called for a leg workout, I switched it out for P90X3 Yoga. I didn’t think it would be wise to put my legs through more after the previous days’ run. I was so glad I did. I had worked a 12 hour day the day before and my back and hip flexors were incredibly tight. The yoga was just what I needed! After yoga was over, I put in P90X Ab Ripper and completed it for the first time in months. It was HARD! I forgot how hard that workout was! (and I was incredibly sore the next day as proof!)

Saturday: Mike and I headed out to Rancho Santa Fe for our favorite trail run called the Lusardi loop. It’s just over 10 miles with about 1,800 feet of climbing. There are plenty of steep ascents and descents and that mixed with 90% humidity and over 70 degree weather, it was a challenging run! I didn’t wear my heart rate monitor, knowing I wouldn’t be keeping it in Zone 2.

Lusardi Loop

Lusardi Loop

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Overall I felt pretty good on the run and I really enjoyed being out on the trail. I took it easy on some sections and overall didn’t push the pace too hard but due to the nature of the course, it was a tough run. I was happy that Mike stayed with me for most of the time so we got to spend some quality time out on the trail together. We only saw one other runner the entire time! 

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Sunday: 

Thanks to a 2 hour nap on Saturday and 9 hours of sleep that night, Mike and I felt pretty good on Sunday morning. We took our time getting ready and even went to a local coffee shop for bagels and coffee and relaxed a bit before heading out for our run. We decided we’d play it by ear but we wanted to run at least 6 miles. We were both feeling so good that we ended up running all the way to Fletcher Cove again for a total of 8.4 miles! I ran with my heart rate monitor and kept it all in Zone 2 to make sure I didn’t overdo it. 

Weekly Totals: 

  • Totals Miles Run: 36.75
  • Total Hours Cross-Training: 1.25
  • Total Time: 6 + 1.25 = 7.25 hours

Do you run trails while training for a road marathon?