Week 4 Workouts {Phoenix Half & Green Bay Marathon}

How to sum up this week? A couple good runs, a guilt-ridden but necessary skipped run, and an extra-hard long run to round ‘em all up. Read on.

Monday
Rest

Tuesday
3 mile run
Treadmill time. Ran 3 miles on it, climb-up & back down in speed, 5.5mph to 6.5mph.

Wednesday
3 mile run
Treadmill again. Tried a pre-programmed activity of “rolling hills,” which I expected to mean incline changes, but just jumped me back & forth between 5.5mph and 6mph. Felt strong; good workout.

Thursday
5 mile run DNR
My neck had been hurting me since last Saturday, giving me irritating headaches and pain that ran up and down my neck into my shoulder. Super awesome, let me tell ya. I was feeling out of it, as haven’t been sleeping great, and my neck was still bothering me, so I skipped the run. (Excuses, excuses.)

I tried to make up for it {at least a little] by doing lots of core/hip/leg work while watching TV in the evening.

Friday
Rest
I felt a little guilty for skipping Thursday’s run, until the afternoon when I realized my neck had NOT been hurting anymore! Finally. Taking the day off had actually helped, so I was glad I made that decision after all.

Saturday
8 mile run (8.02mi/11:27 pace)
Ohh, this run. Let me start out with: I am so glad I finished it, as it was yet another lesson in perseverance, and I won’t fall behind on my weekly long runs before my half marathon. I’m grateful to my friend June for running with me; she really pulled me through, even though she probably didn’t realize I was having such a tough time.

But man, this 8 miles was rough. First of all, we had winds at 25mph, gusting up to 40mph. It was 23 degrees when we started, with a “feels like” of 2 degrees. TWO. And the temps actually dropped after that, to below zero. So that was swell.

On top of that, it had snowed several inches overnight, so the roads were mostly not cleared—which meant we were running on a sand-like consistency most of the time. Two miles in, I could tell this would be a hard run, but I tried to push those thoughts out of my mind and just enjoy the fact that I was outside running, and not on a treadmill.

By the time 5 miles had passed, I was plugged into my headphones trying to tune everything out. Running on snow not only makes your legs tired, but it wears on your hips, calves (so sore today!), lower back, core… It’s like a full-body workout. Despite the cold, I was sweating under all my layers, and I was thirsty. Luckily, I had some cash in my pocket, so when we passed by a mini mart, I ducked inside for a bottle of water. That seemed to help a bit.

We kept trudging through the snow back to our starting point, but we were only at 7 miles total, due to a shortcut we had taken on a non-snow covered road on the way back. I was so ready to just be DONE, but June said, “I guess we’ll just run another half mile out and back, right?” Right you are… So we kept going, and got the 8 miles done.

Coffee afterwards never tasted so good. The warmth! We then stopped by the indoor farmer’s market, and everyone was pawning us samples. We must have looked hungry. I picked up some homemade veggie burgers and raspberry jam, and headed home, content, tired, and proud. Nap time.

– – –

Here’s what’s on tap for this week:

Sunday: yoga
Monday: 3 miles easy
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 3 miles tempo
Thursday: 5 miles pace
Friday: rest
Saturday: 9 miles {please, God, better weather!}

– – –

How were your workouts & runs this week?
What do you do when you have an especially tough time, or want to quit?

I just try to remember my goal and how whatever I’m doing will help me to get there—and how it will hurt me if I quit. Setting yourself up for success by running with others always seems to help give that extra push, too.

Week 3 Workouts {Phoenix Half & Green Bay Marathon}

I’m going to start numbering my weekly workout recaps up to the Phoenix Half Marathon, then the Green Bay Marathon. It will end up being a 20-week cycle by the end, when I reach my second 26.2-mile goal. 🙂 I hope you follow along with me! {If you missed my training plan, you can find it here.}

Let’s get to it: Last week’s workouts were great! I actually hit all my workouts, so that’s always a plus, huh?

Monday
3 mile run
I popped onto the dreadmill at the gym and, while it did feel a little less dreadful than the last few weeks (maybe I’m just getting back into shape), I shall still call it the dreadmill out of principle. Followed up with stretching & some hip/core work at home.

Tuesday
Rest
Enjoyed a second birthday dinner out with my man! I’m glad he insisted. 😉

Wednesday
4 mile run
The ‘mills were all taken up when I got to the gym, so I hopped on a stationary bike for 25 minutes until one opened up. I followed the biking with 2 miles on the treadmill, where I made it count with some speedwork. I started at 5.5mph and got up to 7.5mph before brining it back down to 6-6.5mph for the last 5 minutes. I felt strong! Did some hip & core work at home.

Thursday
3 mile run {3.11 mi/10:45 pace}
I ran outside with my friend Liz (who saved the day because I was ready to bail on this workout). We get to geek out with some Garmin stats again, finally: We ran 3.11 miles easy pace, which was a 10:45 average. (Spot on with what I want my marathon pace to be.) Weather was 30 degrees and kind of spitting snow, but it was better than the treadmill.

Friday
Rest

Saturday
7 mile run {7.01 mi/10:30 pace}
I had to go all out to bundle up for this one! I thought I wore a lot for this run a few weeks ago, but I had to go buy a balaclava and winter hat on Friday in preparation for Saturday’s run. The windchill was a few degrees below zero when we started! My legs felt pretty much numb most of the run, and I had icicles on my eyelashes most of the time. I wish I had taken a better picture, but if you look closely at this one, you can see the icicles in my hair on the right… Ha!

runner icicles outside

I felt great during this run, and we didn’t pay attention to the pace. I was surprised to see we ran it at 10:30 min/mile!

long run 7 miles splits

I know I should not worry about pacing during my long runs, but this is a faster-than-usual pace for me, and considering it felt “easy” I am proud of it. I’m glad my friend June could keep me company & truckin’ along!

What To Wear for Winter Running

The weekend is here!

I’m grateful for two days off, with nothing to do besides take down our dried up Christmas tree and decorations. {Which I’m a tad sad about—didn’t we just put them up?} We haven’t had a weekend without plans or a mile-long to-do list to tackle in so long—maybe since before Thanksgiving—so I will enjoy the R&R.

I started off my Saturday morning by making a comeback at my running club. I haven’t been able to run with them in weeks, so it was fun to be reunited!

With the wind chill, it “felt like” 8 degrees out, so I was all bundled up. What do you wear when it’s that cold out? It’s actually not too bad, if you dress properly. Even I was surprised! Here’s what I wore to stay warm in the super cold winter weather.

what to wear for winter running

• Underwear + baselayer shorts

• Thicker, weather-resistant running pants

Nike Element Shield Running Pants for cold weather running

You need thicker pants, or lined pants, in general to stay warmer. If you can find some with waterproof or weather-resistant fabric panels, they really help to shield your muscles from the cold wind, rain and snow. You could try something like this {pictured above} from Nike.

• Moisture-wicking t-shirt and long sleeve shirt
You want both shirts to be breathable and moisture-wicking, so that your sweat won’t make your clothes too damp—that will make you colder. Also, layering is key. You can wear both shirts to stay warmer, but maybe after a few miles you’re really warmed up and too warm? Then you can remove the long sleeve shirt and tie it around your waist. Done.

• Waterproof, lightweight jacket
Nike Sequence Jacket
My sister got me a waterproof jacket several years ago for Christmas, and it’s key to the cold workouts! Because it’s waterproof, it keeps out the snow, and also helps shield from the cold. It doesn’t have to be a heavy coat, it’s just the waterproof layer that makes the difference. Mine also has a drawstring hood, so if it’s super windy, I can pull the hood up and tighten it around my face. Sure, I probably look like a freak, but most people probably think I am a freak already for running out in the wind/snow/sleet/rain, so it works. You could try something like this jacket {pictured above), or even keep an eye out at Marshalls/TJ Maxx, as I’ve seen some there before.

• Gloves

• Ear warmers + hat
Since my hat doesn’t cover my ears fully, the ear warmers make sure they’re toasty, and the hat keeps more heat in covering my whole head.

• Scarf
Wrap this around your neck to keep it warm, and pull it up around the bottom of your face if you need to. I used it to help shield my face, with that wind yesterday.

• Tall compression socks
I don’t normally wear compression socks, but since they come up all the way to the knee, I thought they’d help keep my legs warmer. All my other socks are no-show, so my ankles always get cold. Any tall sock would work well.

• Shoes
If you have vented shoes, make sure your socks are nice and thick. Better yet, I saw someone yesterday who had taped around the toe box of their shoes with masking tape, to help keep out the cold air and flying slush. Smart!

It looks like a long list, and I guess it is—but it definitely made running in the “feels like” 8 degree weather not suck.

Happy {warm} running, friends!

– – –

What do you wear for cold-weather running?
Any favorite items, like pants or jackets that you recommend?

Resting Up + Party Plans

YO, party people!
I am so looking forward to this week being over already. It’s been crazyhecticnutso around here, but in a good way. Plus, I have an exciting weekend coming up!

Last week flew by because work was so crazy. At my day job in web design world, we finished off our Black Friday + Cyber Monday sales, and kicked off our Christmas sales, so we’re in the home stretch for marketing land. It feels good to make it this far without losing my sanity (too much).

chateau st. michelle wine

delicio-so

Thank you, vino.

The week left me exhausted, and I was oh-so-happy when Friday rolled around. I had some web design training during the day (love going to “school”!), then returned home to some happy hour festivities with a buddy that will be leaving the hallowed work halls soon. Wah.

After that, I headed over to my company’s annual holiday party, where I got some yummy dinner and chatted it up with lots of co-workers. I stayed for a couple hours, then called it a night and headed home. I was ready for some sleep!

Saturday morning, I was supposed to run the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis 5K. I did this run last year. It was well-organized, fun and well worth facing the cold then. But, temps were under 5 degrees, with a wind chill well below zero… Based on how miserably cold my Turkey Trot run felt last month, and with the temps even warmer then, I decided to skip the race.

A lot of my running club still went to the race, and I felt a little guilty for not going myself. What am I, a pansy? How cold is too cold, when it comes to winter running? What do you think?

In the end, I was pretty glad I skipped the race—I was so exhausted from Thanksgiving and the work week, so I really needed some extra zzz’s. I finally felt well-rested and was able to get a head start on all the work I needed to do around the house.

Why so much work to do here? We’re finally having a housewarming party this coming weekend! I LOOOOVE Christmas, so what better excuse to throw a holiday + housewarming party (finally)? We’re trying to put the finishing touches on every room, make our place spic ‘n’ span, get our holiday decorations up, and plan out our yummy food menus for the party before Saturday arrives.

We are having a ton of people over, so we’re doing a heavy spread of appetizers instead of a real “dinner” or anything. So far on the list we have:

  • Cheese, crackers, olives & grapes
  • Veggies, dip, hummus
  • Swedish Meatballs
  • Taco dip + chips
  • Guacamole, salsa, chips
  • Salamis, green olives & mozzarella kabobs (festive!)
  • Spinach & artichoke bites (<– Thanks, Pinterest)
  • Brie, cranberry sauce & pistachio bites
  • Smoked salmon & chive cream cheese on cucumbers
  • Pepperoni rolls (<– Mom’s specialty)
  • Oreo truffles
  • Nutella brownies

Ahh, I’m already hungry just thinkin’ about it.

What are your favorite party foods?

Anything we should add to the spread? 

How cold is too cold when it comes to running?

8 Tips to Help You Stay Motivated This Winter

8 Tips to help you stay motivated this winter - ways to motivate yourself to work out in the winter

As a kid, I used to LOVE snow. I grew up along the lake effect snow belt in Ohio. It was theee best when you went to bed with no snow on the ground, only to wake up to a foot of fresh powder and pretty snowflakes falling from the sky. Oh, and school cancelled, of course!

Now that I’m all grown up and the mythical Snow Day has been snatched from existence, just like Santa Claus, my love for snow has dwindled. Not only do I have to drive in this stuff (i.e., dodge all the people who can’t drive in the snow), but now I have to find a way to stay motivated to work out in it, so I can eat, drink and be merry stay healthy all winter.

Alas, here I am, in Wisconsin, land of beer and cheese and snow and bitterly cold wind. Over the last couple years, I’ve run during snowstorms; I’ve run during monsoon-like winds; I’ve run in temperatures topping out in the mere teens. I’ve run with YakTrax (spikes) on the bottom of my shoes, so I can prance along snowy, icy sidewalks and streets. I’ve run when other sane folks are only outside because they have to snowblow two feet of snow out of their driveway, and they look at me like I’m a nutjob.

(They may be right.)

Are you dreading cold weather runs in the snow, and finding it’s hard to get your butt out the door to go work out? Well, you’re in luck!

Here are eight of my tips and tricks for staying motivated to run and work out during the winter months.

1. Good Ol’ Fashioned Self-Bribery
Reward yourself for facing the arctic conditions that any normal human would cower against. Get yourself some new (warm) workout gear, new shoes, a sweet treat, hot cocoa…you could even set aside a few bucks in a jar every time you complete a workout and spring for a BIG reward. Whatever it is, paying yourself back with some sort of incentive to get out there can help.

2. Sign Up for a Winter Race
Turkey Trots and Santa Runs can help keep you motivated for the next month or two. Or, sign up for an early spring race, and your training schedule will demand training time over the winter months. Having a goal race to train for—and a set training schedule for it—is one of the best motivators to get out the door.

3. Join a Running Club
My bah-humbug motivation savior! Find a running club, or even just a friend or two, and set concrete plans to run together at least once or twice a week. Knowing someone is planning, and waiting, to meet you will make you less likely to flake on a workout.

4. Go Streaking
Not for the faint of heart: Join the Runner’s World 2013 Holiday Streak and run at least 1 mile per day from Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s. Will you win anything? No. Will it be awesome? Yes. I am going to go streaking myself!

5. Enjoy a Post-Run Warm-Up
Have hot cocoa or tea ready to heat up when you get back. Or, hop in a warm bath or shower to relax & de-stinkify. You might not want to get out.

6. Remember: Cold > Hot
When you think it’s too cold out to run, think of all the days you had to run in the sun, in 90 degree (or more) heat, and ridiculous humidity. Cold is oh-so-much better to run in than the heat.
111213_miss-hating-the-summer-heat-seasonal-ecards-someecards

7. Try a New Workout
Okay, so you’re not going to get outside. It’s just not gonna happen. Take these few months to try new workout classes or pick up some cross-training. Sign up for a spin class, yoga, Pilates, TRX, CrossFit, bootcamp—the possibilities are endless. Don’t think you’ll even want to leave your home? I like to hibernate, too. Get P90X or other fitness DVDs to do in front of your own TV, or find workouts online to do at home, no equipment required.

8. You’ll Be a Bad Ass
If you continue to run throughout the winter, even in snow and below-freezing temperatures, you’re kind of like the Super Hero of runners. Everyone wants to do it, but only a select few will really stick with it. You, my friend, will be a Bad Ass.* And as such, you’ll feel a little lighter, a little faster, and a lot more awesome come springtime.

*To non-runners, you will be a Crazy Ass. Proceed with caution.

What are your tips for staying motivated during the winter months?
Do you find it harder to get outside and run, or it’s just like any other time of year for you?