This is a post about running, so if that doesn’t suit your fancy, feel free to visit later for a Zach-centered post 🙂 Anyway, I will set something straight: ANY physical movement is GOOD. ANY. Exercise, moving, whatever you choose to call it, has a positive effect on your body scientifically both emotionally and physically. But when you are training for a race, you can be doing “bad training.” Which is what I feel I have been doing. Yes, I have been clocking about 30 miles a week which on the surface looks great, right?! I mean I am getting LOADS of endorphins daily, enjoying the heck out of my runs, and doing physically “good things” for my body. But I am not training efficiently. Let me explain. In the beginning of truly training for this half marathon, now about a month away, I decided to be “smart” about my training. IN my weekly schedules I include a speed work day, a hill train day, a long run, a tempo run (at race pace) and an easy run. I really wanted to stay away from “junk miles.” Although I hate that term, because I feel that every mile ran is wonderful, in training, some can be junk in that they do not have much of a purpose TO the training PLAN. So anyway, I thought that I could train fully inside on my treadmill, catching up on good (to me) TV while Zach napped. Sounds good right? So this weekend, I HAD to take advantage of the weather. It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. The type of weather us runners covet! So out I went.
Ummm yea…I didn’t have a “bad run” like “oh today isn’t going well for me.” It was a total reveal of flaws in my training plan that I need to fix NOW with a month left of training. I completed 5 miles in 47:12. This is “meh” for time, but the problem was how I felt during and now after. as I type this I am alternating with the tiger tail. 5 miles should NOT leave me sore like this. Yes, I did a lot of back-to-backs this week, but bottom line, I am not prepared for the outdoor terrain or anything else that goes along with it, that will mimic the race experience. I detail more. Here are the things that MUST change within the month. Here are the flaws:
1. Stoppage- on the treadmill I will “hop to the sides” for a moment to catch my breath, grab a drink, change the speed, read an email, etc. Cant do that outside/during a race. Nope. Not only will I get run over, but the timing device does not stop and if I am attempting to run for time, I need to fix this and stop being willy-nilly about my mid-run pauses. Not to mention the bathroom breaks I take from the comfort of my home (usually once every 5 miles?).
2. Fuel/Water- yesterday I did not bring fuel or water on my 5 miler because I couldn’t figure out how to carry/manage either. I used to run with a Camel Bak but thought I wouldn’t need it for a 5-miler. On the treadmill, I have everything I need right there. I can hop to the sides to grab sips of water, chew my shot bloks, and even pee. Yea, not outside.
3. Altering terrain- while I do hill train once a week, NOTHING mimics outdoor terrain like…outdoors. There are sidewalks, curbs, cobblestone, brick (I live in Philly), little inclines and declines in the natural makeup of the street, weaving around people, etc. You simply cannot mimic this on the treadmill.
4. Media- when I run indoors on the treadmill, I watch my (amazing to me) TV shows 97% of the time. The only time I listen to upbeat music is sometimes during speed work but not always even then. It is scientifically proven that people run faster when listening to music, especially music at a certain BPM. I am going to (try to) forgo my beloved TV shows for some of my runs and switch to music. This will be easy with my “take it outdoors” plan (see below).
5. Speed- If I want to be fast I need to train faster. I admit, many of my treadmill runs are laxidasical, speed set at 6.0 (ten min miles) or even 5.9! The problem is that running is my fun me time and I LOVE it. So “pushing through workouts” and speedy paces isn’t that much fun for me, and I don’t like taking the “fun out of run.” huh?! LOL. Anyway, I need to up the speed on the treadmill for the majority of my runs. The fact it, I barely notice a .1 or .2 increase so I need to just do it. Not every run need to be for speed, but overall I need to be increasing the MPH. (And here is where I admit that I also like running because it is similar to my teaching profession with the many acronyms. Teaching= IEP, TEP, etc. LOL)
OK, so there you have it. My training needs to mimic race conditions in a more authentic way. Maybe not EVERY run, but more runs than I have been allowing for. Solution: I WILL be running outside 1-2 a week. This fits in perfectly with the beautiful weather changes and the fact that I have been wanting to take Zach out in the jogging stroller. One outdoor run with be with him and another solo. I think the jogger will increase my race speed as well. Imagine pushing 50 pounds during training and then on race day…not! I am going to run a 10k race next Sunday that is pretty hilly so that will be my hilly/outdoor run, and have already planned a river run with Zach in the stroller and a good friend before a special event I am going to that I will certainly blog about soon 🙂