Thursday, April 30, 2009

Here We Go!

One month people...ONE MONTH!

And by this I mean 1 month to the Calgary marathon which is taking place on the 31st of May.

SO excited to get out there and run a marathon again. Even MORE excited for the 5 lovely ladies who will be completing the half! Almost there...hang in, the next 10 days are big mileage and then the hard stuff is done and on to the taper!


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Love your Run

2 small things of note this lovely and snowy Sunday evening (notice how my posts have most recently always been about two things)...

One. I downloaded and listened to a good portion of the the Darra Torres book Age is Just a Number on my long run on Friday. Wow. The women won Olympic medals in swimming in Beijing at the ripe old age of 41. Wow. More than this the book is about not letting your age stand in the way of your dreams. I cried three times on my run while listening to this. It is an amazing story about a simply amazing woman. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone even if swimming isn't really your thing.

Two. On my medium long run this morning, I came across a lovely little sidewalk chalked message which read "Heart your run". And I decided to do just that. And it was amazing. I was outside, it was kind of sunny (OK- truth- it wasn't snowing...yet) and I just loved my run. I think we all need to do this a little more often. Forget the time and the pace and the event looming in the not so far away distance and love the fact that you are out there period.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Love It

2 posts in 2 days...unheard of, I KNOW. But two things happened today that I really, really needed to get out there in the universe.

First, a great big congratulations to Michael and Jamie Allison for running the Boston marathon today. I met Michael and Jamie in Boston last year when Michael was running and Jamie was his support crew. Well, this year I am happy to report that they BOTH ran and finished. Nice work you two! I'm not going to lie, a little part of me today wished I was in Boston tackling those hills. Next year, my friends, and perhaps there will be two Rices in Boston! LOVE IT!

Second, there is a little running store in the Marda Loop called Strides. Its a great little store situated across from OJ's in the purple house. ANYHOW, I love the sign they have outside of their store which states..."FIT IS THE NEW SKINNY". Put THAT in your pipes, people! LOVE THAT SAYING! I really thought about it as I was tackling hills and stairs today, and I think the world would be a healthier, happier place if we could all just embrace this one little saying. I know I'm going to and I hope you all do too, especially since you should all be feeling fit and fabulous with all of this great training you're doing! LOVE IT!

And now I must clean my house. LOVE IT!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Le Plateau

No. Not Le Chateau (that store that sells clothes that look like they may catch on fire very easily as one Chaney likes to say), but le PLATEAU...

I've had a couple of emails this week from people that all sound suspiciously similar...

"My running was going great but now it sucks! I feel slow and sluggish like I'm running under water"...OR

"I hate running. I loved running until this week, but this week it sucks and now I hate it."

Well, my fine running shoed friends, you have reached what in training terms is dubbed "the plateau". Rest assured, EVERYONE hits these from time to time and there is not a part of me that doesn't think that you won't get through this. Your best friends and allies in getting through the plateau are good old fashioned rest and mental toughness. Make good, good friends with these two. You're going to need them from time to time in marathon or half training. We are all fickle in this respect...we befriend rest and toughness when we want to and then forget about them for the majority of the time. And suddenly we realize that we really do in fact need them and want them in our lives.

The first thing you need to do is to identify why in fact you have hit a plateau. I like to divide this up into 2 categories (and yes it is possible to fit into both at once): the PHYSICAL plateau and the MENTAL plateau.

If your plateau is mental you are probably experiencing the following: abject dread at the thought of having to go running no matter how beautiful and sunny it may be, quitting partway through your runs, or skipping runs for things that suddenly become VERY important like dusting your home. Associated with these negative Nancy type thoughts is that great feeling of guilt that keeps you up at night because the race is approaching and your training just isn't there. RELAX people! There are several things you can try in order to get through this...

1. Take some days off. That's right- ALLOW yourself and your mind the rest it deserves. Tell yourself that you are taking 3, 4 or even 5 days off of running. And then don't think about it or worry about it. Give your mind and body a chance to recover and then try and come back to running. Running will not be mad at you if you leave it for this short period of time, unlike your significant other.

2. Reward yourself for running. Plan your weekly runs and give yourself a treat at the end if you stick to it...a new lulu shirt or jeans, ice cream, whatever floats your boat, really.

3. Try and find someone to run with if you are the type that likes company on your runs. A good conversation can make a run that is feeling very, very long and arduous go by very quickly. If your running friends aren't into distance, see if you can convince one of them to meet up with you for a small portion of the run.

4. Download a book to your ipod...see sidebar for a couple of entertaining suggestions for books. It kind of takes your mind off what you're doing to your bod!

5. Realize that you are ALMOST THERE. You have done almost all of the hard work. Great job. Congratulate yourself. Training for a half or full is incredibly tough...acknowledge this and be proud of the fact that you are undertaking something not a lot of people have the guts to do.

If your plateau is physical, you are probably experiencing general fatigue (even if you are getting enough sleep), muscle stiffness and sore joints (especially knees, ankles and hips) and when you go running it doesn't feel any good at all. In fact, you feel slow, sluggish and awful no matter how hard you try. Here are a few things to try to get through this...

1. Rest, rest, rest. Before my personal training course, I underestimated the healing power of rest. OK- forget underestimated, I just ignored it totally. Your body is an incredible machine doing very, very extreme things for you in this training. You need to give it the time it needs and deserves to repair and recover from the pounding it is taking. Try taking a few days off and get some rest.

2. Get a massage. I just had one this week. So very lovely. It reminded me how tight my muscles are and how much my muscles appreciate this! In this last little bit of training I would try and go at least every couple of weeks.

3. just feels so good. And it is so important to keep you running. I know it's hard to fit it in after a long run as we are all busy people, but make stretching a priority. Even if it means cutting your run short by 5 minutes to do the stretching it will be worth it in the end. I highly recommend hot yoga as I have mentioned several times before.

4. If you are experiencing PAIN that is beyond normal stiffness and soreness, PLEASE get this looked after right away. Let's be honest. We are not trying to win the race...we are not training for the Olympics...we have simply committed to the distance for our own goals and personal satisfaction. It is NOT, I repeat, NOT worth sustaining a serious injury over this! If you think you have an injury, see your doctor, go to physio, or whatever you need to do to heal yourself!

5. Make sure you are getting enough to eat...and enough of the right things to eat (PLEASE don't limit carbs- your body needs them for this kind of training), and are getting enough sleep at night.

ANYHOW- rambling, rambling, I need to sign off here and complete the various cleaning projects I've started and abandoned. Just one final are all doing awesome in your training, wherever you are...the hardest part is almost over and we will be at the taper before you know it! Hang in there- what you are experiencing is common and you WILL get over this plateau..

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It's Really Official...

...I am licensed and ready to assist people in committing and recommitting to health and fitness! The fitness gods have smiled upon me and it's official...I am a Certified Personal Trainer! Anyone want a running program? A weight program? A weight and running program combined? A general program to improve your fitness and lose weight? Well look no further people...I AM YOUR WOMAN!

Truthfully, I learned a ton in my course and studies over the past couple of months. Much of what I learned regarding the cardiovascular energy systems and nutrition I have applied to my own training and low and behold, it seems to work! Science...amazing isn't it? Anyhow, I am excited to embark upon my career in the fitness industry. It has always been a passion of mine, and I can't think of a better job to have then something that you consider a passion! Feels less like work and more like play, no? Anyhow...anyone looking for a trainer? ANYONE?

Enough about PT and onto the very meat of this post...the running part! It sure does feel good to run in shorts and a t-shirt, doesn't it? I am loving the sunshine, warmer weather and ice free pathways and sidewalks. It just makes for nicer running. And when the running is nicer, I find myself looking even more forward to it. Hopefully the great Calgary weather (if you aren't reading from Calgary here's to hoping your weather has been great too) has been motivation for ya'll to get out there to pound the pavement and get those training miles in. The half and full are fast approaching after all! By now everyone has heard me say repeatedly, PLEASE don't miss your long runs. If you have any hope for a great run on race day then these long ones are very, very important. To go the distance you need the endurance! As for your shorter runs, if you haven't been already, I highly suggest pushing your pace a bit on these runs. I'm not saying that you need to head out for an hour long sprint- that would H-U-R-T, but do try and just go a touch faster on your shorter runs...if that doesn't work for you, consider trying a run where you run a third of your run for warm up, a third at a nice steady pace and a third pushing your pace. The shorter runs where you push the pace will help your body learn to better deal with the adverse reaction your body will have to running hard, such as the lactic acid build up in your muscles and the soreness in the legs!

And with that little morsel of juicy marathon training advice, I will sign off here...lets keep our fingers crossed for more great weather! Happy Easter and Happy Running everyone!