Day 11: It’s all a mental game!

Today I ran 3 miles, pushing one 27 lbs kid in a stroller. As you know I wasn’t really in the mood for a run this morning, but with all the support I’ve had and by the time I got to the Glenmore Reservoir things turned around. Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you it was all lollipops and sunshine (well, it was actually sunny out). There were moments where I had to chant “you run because you can” in my head; tell myself not to quit etc…but I did it and I’m pleased. I wasn’t too far off my time last night and I was pushing a stroller!

Here are todays stats:

  • Distance: 4.80 km
  • Time: 30:21
  • Pace/Km: 6:19
  • Best Pace: 5:45

The trail wasn’t too busy, there were lots of people young and old running, biking and walking. The best part of the day was during cool-down when Felix & I passed by a bench with three older women on it (guessing late 70’s) – they were bubbly, smiling and wished us a good morning. Oh one thing I wanted to ask was this: do you put on perfume/cologne before your morning run? Felix and I rounded a corner and I hit a wall of Chanel Mademoiselle; much to my surprise it was a man wearing it. Then not two minutes later, we hit the smell of what can only be described as Brut. Now, I can’t be sure because the last time I would have smelled it was when my brother was in junior high – it’s nasty stuff!

Not too much more to report. Felix felt totally left out of the action, so when we got to the parking lot I let him do a lap pushing the stroller -he was loving life! I then had to bribe him with cheerios to get into the car.

On the way home he dumped 2/3 of the bag out – silly me for giving him the whole thing. However, all I could do was laugh! He’s a great little running buddy 🙂




To fartlek or not to fartlek.

My next run day will be a 4 mile Fartlek. Never heard of it? The name is hilarious, in my opinion anyway, And when originally told I would have to complete it, I immaturely replied: “Come again? What?” And laughed. However, it is pretty important for endurance runners as it acts as an alternative to interval training. So despite the title, I will be Fartleking… lol…

Wikipedia describes it as “speed play” in Swedish. For training purposes it means blending continuous training with interval training. The training can vary from aerobic walking to anaerobic sprinting.  Sessions should be at an intensity that causes the athlete to work anywhere from 60% – 80% of their MHR. As with every work out, you should have a warm up and cool down.

Here’s an example of the training outlined on wiki:

  • Warm up = easy running for 5-10 minutes
  • Steady, hard speed for 1.5 – 2.5 km
  • Recovery = rapid walking for 5 minutes
  • Start of speedwork = easy running interspersed with sprints of about 50 – 60 metres (repeat until tired)
  • Easy running with three or four “quick steps” (supposed to simulate suddenly speeding up to avoid being overtaken by another runner)
  • Full speed uphill for 175-200 metres
  • Fast pace for 1 minute

*This whole routine would be repeated until the total time prescribed on the training schedule has lapsed (or in my case, until you pass out.)

Here’s are a few more examples of Fartlek training from Runners World and Kick Runners:

Block Party: 
In your city, neighborhood, or office park, use blocks as your “track.” You can go around the block or do an out-and-back. Start at a slow pace for five to 10 steps, then gradually increase the pace for 20 to 50 steps, then run at race pace (but not all out) for one full block. Start with two or three fartlek segments and build to six. Walk for one or two minutes between each faster section.

Running Landmark: 
Pick a telephone pole, mailbox, stop sign, or anything up ahead and run to it. You can choose one item (all telephone poles, for example) or multiple landmarks to create varying lengths of speed segments. On each segment, gradually pick up the pace until you’re running fast but not all out. For the last 20 steps, hold the pace, but focus on relaxing your body and allowing momentum to take over. Walk or jog for half the distance of your repeat, then spot your next landmark and take off again. Continue for a total of 10 to 15 minutes, before running an easy five to 10 minutes to cool down.

Portsea Fartlek:

  • 10-15 minute light warm-up
  • a thorough stretching session
  • 3×3 minutes hard (@ 3,000m race effort) w/ 75 secs easy between each
  • 3 minutes easy
  • 4×30 seconds hard (@800m race effort) with 1 min easy between each

Watson Fartlek:

  • 3 minutes easy
  • 3×5 minutes hard (@5000m race effort) with 1 minute 45 seconds easy
  • 5-15 minute warm down with a thorough stretching session

I only have Fartlek sessions once a week, but I’ll likely give all of the above a try- why not, eh? Let me know if you do this type of training and share your techniques!

Day 7: 3 mile run with a wedgie (a.k.a Susan)

Today marks the first full week of half-marathon training completed – YAHOO!!!! And was happy to spend it running with a good pal.

It’s a gorgeous day in Calgary with a pretty strong breeze (I may have cursed it running a hill today); the reservoir was booming with people and we had a great run! Our time was 31:14 with a pace of 6:17/km. I, myself, think it’s quite impressive given the fact that the two of us had a few beverages last evening to celebrate my birthday and still followed through with a run today. I wholeheartedly believe this proves that a drink (or ten) doesn’t necessarily hinder your running performance. I also followed the rule of having lots of water before and after the boozing.

And no. I really didn’t have a wedgie while running. To better explain, please see image.

Tomorrow is a cross-training day. Still trying to decide if I’ll be doing that with Jillian Michaels or on my own. Any ideas?

Thanks for the awesome run Susan – let’s get the gang together for weekly Sunday runs – that means you too, Lorrainne. I expect you to wear your Vibrams! And Andrea too!


Beer running: not just a beer run

So I’ve always been curious about whether having a beer (or two) the night before a run, would help or hinder performance. Back in my heyday, I remember having a few beer at the local Yacht Club when I agreed to run a 10K the next morning. Of course, I woke up feeling like crap and was hoping the other person was either just as hungover or worse-off but then my phone rang. Mentally I knew there was no possible way I could do a 10K on a hot July morning but incredibly, I did; quick to boot! We left shortly after lunch and finished in less than an hour to my amazement – I have no idea how I made it through. I definitely don’t attribute that success to having had beer the night before; coincidence and a lot of luck. But I do wonder: if you have a pre-run routine that includes beer, does it really have any effect on your run?

When I started researching it, I came across a few important facts. Some research shows that there may be some health benefits to drinking beer in moderation. Apparently, the B vitamins and chromium found in the malt and hops; others from the flavinoids that may actually reduce the risk of heart attack and cancer. Obviously there’s lots of controversy, but here are a few points:

(1) despite joking about drinking beer as carb-loading, due to the way alcohol is metabolized in the body most excess carbs are actually stored as fat; ironically you’re actually fat-loading (as if I need any more of that!)

(2) alcohol is a diuretic, so it can leave you dehydrated (no, drinking more won’t help!) so if you decide to have a beer, make sure you drink water before and after.

(3) alcohol slows the recovery rate, makes you less coordinated and reduces body heat

I think the list is pretty common-sense, but I do often forget how much booze causes you to become dehydrated. I also think everything is okay in moderation.

Along the same lines, I’ve always wanted to do one of these Beer Mile runs. Heard of them? The Hash House Harriers call themselves “a drinking club with a running problem.” (My kind of people) The group has spread all over the world – even here in Calgary! Hashing is a non-competitive cross-country run through varied terrain and every Monday the crew gets together and follows a trail set by the “Hare.” They claim that “Hashing is to competitive running what slo-pitch is to major league baseball.”  Some of the rules are pretty interesting, for example: if you mention the word “race” or “marathon” while among Hashers, and you have to chug a beer! Since I don’t consider myself competitive, I probably wouldn’t have a problem with the rules. However, I bet that lady from the reservoir today would roll home afterward.

If you want to read more about it, there’s a good article in the Globe and Mail. Very interesting as they talk to long-time runners about rigid training (like me) and I tend to agree with everything they say. I fully intend on trying this out, but not until I’ve managed to make it through my half-marathon training. I know, I know… the dude from G & M says to have fun first, but I’m sure he’s already run a half, so I’d like to attain that as well!

Day 6: my first 3 mile tempo run

Today was day 6 – a 3 mile tempo run. I went out on my own and ran at Glenmore Reservoir. It’s a beautiful day out there; the suns shining and there’s a really nice breeze. The trail was packed with runners, walkers, bikers and roller bladers. Saw lots of dogs (one weird looking one) and a squirrel greedily running away from other squirrels with a full corn on the cob. Kids were having their sailing lessons at the club and the park was packed with kids already playing!

Despite having an awesome run today, I have lots of these days too! ->

Thanks to Runkeeper (awesome app) + a friends advice to track it, I have an accurate time – YAHOO! I completed the run in 29:11; with a pace of 6:05 min/km, not my best, but certainly not too bad and I’m happy with it. I’d love to get my pace down to 6 minutes, or less if possible but it will take some time. I did enjoy the tempo run; it was interesting to focus on breathing and adjust everything – I had never been that aware before and can certainly see how it would benefit a runner.

So needless to say, I really enjoyed the run today. It was nice not pushing a stroller and despite not being an evening run, I found it fairly peaceful. However, at one point I was in competition with a woman who didn’t want me to pass her. At first I thought it was just my imagination, but then my coach came on over music to tell me my pace had changed by 10-15 seconds, meaning that I was trying to pass her, but had to keep speeding up. Why do people do that? First of all, I gladly move to the side if I know someone is behind me and wants to get by; secondly, it wasn’t a race. It was so awkward! I knew she meant serious business though, because she was wearing one of those running belts. At any rate, I awkwardly passed by.

I’ve been keeping up with the pre and post-run stretching – definitely helping me but my left shoulder is killing me; not sure what type of stretch is going to help it – anyone have any ideas? My legs feel pretty good and not as sore as I thought they would be after this first week of training; one more 3 mile run tomorrow and I’ll have successfully completed week 1 – YAHOO!

Now…off to enjoy the sunshine. Keep the feedback coming – love hearing from everyone!