- 10th January
- 8th January
As I sit here with a glass of wine, I’m having a hard time keeping my eyes open. I think I’d forgotten how much marathon training really does take out of you.
As my first week back in Vancouver, I ended up running 4 times this week - 10 miles on Monday (my long run from week 1 was postponed one day due to the holiday), speed work on Thursday night (6 X 800m), an easy 5 miles Friday (easy for Troy..) and 13 miles this morning. Total mileage: 47k.
I often get the question - so where do you get your running plans? Easy. I make them. Here are the main guidelines I use:
- Knowing your own body and its limits is crucial. I know that if I run more than 4 days per week, I don’t recover well and I put myself at risk for injury. When making your running plans, ensure that you have enough rest days to recover - this is the only way to progress in your training.
- Incorporate a mix of speed, hills, LSD (long, slow, distance) and tempo/race pace as well as recovery runs. Typically, no more than two per week of the higher intensity runs (speed/hills/race pace).
- Your week’s total volume should increase by no more than 10-15% per week. Anything more than this and you will be putting yourself at risk for injury. Nobody likes to be injured…
- Every 3rd or 4th week should be a recovery week ie. diminish your total volume by 15%.
With only 98 days to go, my plan is already in action. This week, I will be joining a group on Granville Island on Tuesday evening for a 8-10k Tempo, Wednesday night we have a 6k recovery with lululemon Run Club, Thursday is my night for Speedwork, perhaps some hills on Friday evening and a 16k recovery snowshoe run in Whister on Sunday. Total mileage: 44k.
- 6th January
- 6th January
Of the countless miles that I ran in 2011, I definitely had some favourites. Behold, my top 5 faves of 2011.
1. Vancouver Sea Wall/Vancouver First Half Marathon - Starting in False Creek near Science World and heading West, run alongside the the path that will take you all the way around Stanley Park. At then end of the loop, cross over (through the path at Lost Lagoon) and make your way back along the ocean front. This is approximately 20k - 13 miles.
2. South Kihei Road, Maui, HI - Starting where SKR meets Wailea, heading North and up the hill until turning left onto Honolapiilani Hwy - then down the hill for a mile into Maalaea. 10 miles of beauty - apparently quite windy in the last 3 miles, but was perfectly calm when I ran there.
3. Bellingham Bay Half Marathon - A nice, flat course that takes you all over Bellingham - downtown, alongside Bellingham Bay, the South Bay Trail, Squalicum Harbour and more. Though parts of it are testy (running over the docks and up the hills at the end), this was by far one of my favourite races of 2011.
4. Two and a Half Bridges - This route was put together by Broadway Run Club - We ran from Granville & Broadway in Vancouver down to the Seawall via the Burrard St. Bridge, across the Lion’s Gate Bridge then across to North Vancouver’s Iron Worker’s Memorial Bridge ramp, across, then back to the store. A solid 32k training run prior to the BMO Vancouver Marathon. Any time I get to cross the Lion’s Gate Bridge is sure to be a favourite - no surprise on this one!
5. Pokeshaw, New Brunswick. Each summer, I travel back to New Brunswick (home) for a week or so, and every time I am there I try to get at least one great run in. In 2011, I was visiting with family in Pokeshaw, NB and ran along Route 11 to Grande Anse - a 7k route one way. The kicker - scenery like the one below. There really is, no place like home.
- 16th December
- 15th December
- 11th December
Ice baths. Some of us have done them. Some of us are still skeptical of whether or not the 10-15 minutes of freezing it worth it.
The verdict: They work. Here’s why.
Cryotherapy (application of cold) is a widely known practice amongst runners – particularly following intense exercise. Most muscle damage after intense/long bouts of activity are caused because of compromised circulation – which means there is less oxygen getting to the muscles. Immersion into cold/icy water will cause a vasoconstriction of the arterioles and venules (small arteries and vessels) in the area. By doing so, it slows down the metabolic rate of the muscles and helps prevent any further damage caused by this and in turn decreases recovery time. The cold also helps reduce further swelling and decreases the amount of waste products (which act as irritants to your muscles) created post exercise.
To recap, Ice baths are good because they help decrease recovery time and decrease waste product created by metabolism, which in turn decreases “soreness” the next few days.
Tips to make your ice bath more comfortable:
- Drink warm tea
- Wear warm clothing – I usually wear a hoodie and a long sleeve shirt before getting in.
- No need to stay in any longer than 12-15 minutes.
Remember: The first 3 minutes are the worst. If you can get through these, you are golden! Enjoy!
- 7th December
- 5th December
This past weekend, I completed the Gunner Shaw Race - a 9.5k Cross Country course put on by LGRR in Vancouver (a great race if anyone is looking for one), and finished 90 seconds slower than last year.
I know. To most, 90 seconds is not a big deal. But I’m competitive with myself.
Throughout the race, I found myself thinking. And not thinking in the sense that I was working through things or coming up with brilliant ideas - just really thinking about running. Thinking about how hard it was. How much I wanted to stop. How I couldn’t believe how slow I was. I thought like this for the entire 49ish minutes, and it made for a seriously painful running experience.
Though training is clearly a very important component of performance, so is the mental aspect of running. Without the proper mindset, you can be in the best shape of your life and still perform at your worst.
Many factors can come into play to affect your way of thinking - your motivation for running, tense muscles (from being totally stressed out), race route surprises (HOLY MOLEY that’s a big hill), and of course - my culprit this past weekend - getting down on yourself for “sucking”.
My remedy for this: time to take a few weeks off. Sometimes, the mind and body just needs to get away from it all in order to re-focus. Starting in January, my training for the Boston Marathon begins! That is sure to bring back a certain sense of determination to my training!
As much as I want to go into detail about all this, I’d rather share some sites that have already done Mental Training for Runners justice. Check out some of these for more tips and techniques to help with the mental training aspect of running:
Road Runner Sports - Mental Training Techniques
Active.com - The Mental Side of Running
- 5th December