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NJ Half Marathon Training Recap: Weeks 4-8

The end is near. This is the last four weeks of of training for my next half marathon, each week getting me closer to race day and reaching yet another goal. But this is only the beginning of the end, meaning there is still lots more work to do before the big day.

After yesterday’s run I found myself reflecting on how far I’ve come. It was just about a year ago that I was getting my feet wet again at running after having my son. I remember dragging my feet and really struggling to get two miles complete. Now 5 miles has become a normal, every day run. I am lighter and faster on my feet. I am stronger and striving to be a better runner each training sessions. Progress is part of the process, and it feels so good to be able to look back and feel the difference.

Of course there are days I feel tired and not as fast or feel as great during the run, but I have pretty much stuck to my training plan this month. For some reason I thought that maybe I would struggle a bit more now that the miles have packed on, but I find I am really thriving. I took one day off from my scheduled workouts, but it was a cross training day and instead used it for much needed rest. I have yet to skip a run.

I also upped my cross training, core work and strength training game, but mostly over thee past week. I am making sure to focus on all muscle groups to build a strong running foundation.

I have continued to run three times a week, with one of the three a long run and two days of cross training which I’ve stuck to spin class and kickboxing. Ab work and arm weights have also been worked in. I also have stayed on top of stretching before and after working out, something I slack on normally, but it’s important that I take care of my body and prevent injuries now that we are getting closer.

I found running with my weekend running group has made long runs so enjoyable. Never have I ever expected to be able to run 6 plus miles without music, just talking and enjoying the run. It has been a major motivating force in my training, and I highly recommend finding a local running group to find support during training for longer distance races.

Bad winter weather (back to back Nor’easters) meant that some of my runs throughout these weeks had to be on the treadmill, including week 4’s 5 mile. It’s crazy how in just a month this is no longer considered long distance in my eyes or to my legs. I skipped one group run to run solo in Staten Island along the water, which was freezing cold that day. But even though I had plans all day, I made sure to get in those 6 miles, and honestly felt like I could keep on running if it wasn’t for the cold (and my bad ankle starting to get sore towards the end).

My shorter weekday runs have generally gotten stronger and faster (even its just by a few seconds). On days where I only needed to run 4.5 miles, I went on for an even 5.

My diet has also improved. I find myself still snacking to keep up with my growing appetite, but mainly reaching for healthy options like apples, crackers and cheese and nuts. Meal wise, I began making some recipes from the Run Fast, Eat Slow cookbook like Superhero Muffins that are a must for long runs, as well as the delicious shrimp dinner. Eliminated more junk and processed foods for wholesome and nutritious options, but allowing myself to indulge when cravings hit like going for Enlightened ice cream.

Overall, this has been a great month for training, andI am seeing improvements every week. I look forward to incorporating more core work in the home stretch. I have two shorter distances races (a 5k and 10k) coming up before the big day, so will use these to further motivate and get excited for race day.

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NJ Half Marathon Training Recap: Weeks 1-4

It has been three years, so it’s time to be crazy—well half crazy.

Crossing the finish line at a half marathon race is one of the most emotionally powerful moments I have experienced in my life. A feeling so amazing, I did it three times.

And after taking time away from racing to just enjoy running without pressure and a strict schedule, then having a baby and bouncing back, I have found myself back to the wonderful world of races.

After feeling so passionate about running again—and feeling strong running—I feel deep in my bones that now is the time to do another half marathon. So I signed up got the NJ Half in Long Branch at the end of April.

Already my first month of training is done and in the books, so I am officially of to the races (so to speak). This time around I am using the Hal Higdon program again, settling on the Novice 1 Program. While I have run 13.1 miles before, it has been a loooong time, so I figured best to tackle it like I have never before.

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What I am doing this time that I wasn’t so consistent about the last times is my cross training days. I know it’s okay to do a short run if you don’t cross train, but I really want to use my body to its full potential, taking up Kickboxing and Spin class.

I also joined a running club for those long runs for more support and motivation, which I highly recommend doing. Although so far I have only been able to do this once out of the month, I look forward to running with others who are just as motivated as me—especially when the mileage increases. Some of them are also doing the same race, so we are all running towards the same goal.

I modify the days of the week schedule wise to meet my need, such as having my rest days on Sundays and long runs on Saturday. Cross training days are religiously Wednesday and Friday,leaving my three runs (2 shorter, 1 long) for the remaining days.

In the beginning, most of my runs where done at home on my treadmill, but on nicer days heading out to local parks with the jogging stroller.

I have to say that so far training is going really well. My first three weeks for sure I was amped up and ready to tackle each workout. It was really easy for my to incorporate planned workouts into my schedule—even with a baby. I knew that when he napped I would run, or take him to the gym for that class after lunch. Now I am getting to the point where this week my legs are sore and a little tired, and I wasn’t thrilled about running 5 miles on the dreadmill, but got through it.

I am looking forward to this week’s 6 mile long run, and then a 5k I have the following weekend. I hope that the next 4 weeks go as smoothly as the first.

 

Photo: Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon | Facebook

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This Is How You Know You’re Ready For Half Marathon Training: Week 1 Recap

Getting back to running has literally been a one step in front of the other experience for me post-baby. It didn’t matter that I ran well late into my third trimester, or that once I got my eight weeks clear after delivery I was on that treadmill. Falling in love with running again has been a slow process.

Somewhere along the way, hating every moment of moving my legs turned into a toleration. And before I knew it there was appreciation, and like any good love affair, things quickly have been heating up recently.

And now just like that my first week of half marathon training is complete.

Here’s how you know you’re ready to start training for a half:

You can’t get enough of running

We all have days we don’t want to run, but if you find yourself even dreaming about races, it’s time to train for one.

2. You keep doing 5ks

But you prefer longer distance than speed. 5ks are fun, but are short. Also try 10ks, or incorporate them into your half training plan

3. You know now is the time

Now might be the perfect time to get long runs in or trips to the gym. But even those who work and go to school and have families can carve out the time to train. This might also be the right time as in you don’t have kids, are taking a break before trying for another baby, have flexible work hours, work from etc.

4. You have done a half before
It might’ve been awhile and now you want that old feeling back

5. You feel it in your bones
You know it will be hard work, but are looking forward to it.

 

So how did I go from never thinking I would run long distance again to training? For me, it just seemed like now is the perfect time to do so.

Paradoxically, I feel ready. Of course this means ready to start getting ready for the big day.

And after just finishing my last run to end the week, I couldn’t feel better both physically and mentally. In fact, a big reason why I decided to focus on this goal now is because I have been committed to working out and running 5-6 times a week for the month give or take. I feel like I am in the best shape, and even though I am much slower than pre-baby and have less endurance, there is nothing a little training and hard work can’t fix.

I’ve been looking at a few different half marathon training plans, but am pretty much following the Hal Higon Training Program.

I like this program because the most you run is 10 miles before the race and you really work yourself up to the double digits nicely.

I did alter the week to my needs. Here’s what it looked like:

Monday- 4 mile run
Tuesday- 3 mile run
Wednesday- Rest
Thursday-5K
Friday-cross train (kickboxing 30 mins)
Saturday-4 miles
Sunday-2 miles

Now week 1 and 2 are identical, and there are two half marathons I’m torn about running at the end of April one week apart, so this might be my week 2 depending if I choose the early event. So good thing I’ve been running and cross training religiously for the past two weeks. I like a 12 week program so I feel really prepared, but there are 6 week plans as well.

I contribute a big reason why I decide to train again to the amount of motivation and inspiration I get from running groups on Facebook. I love reading about other’s experiences, and hope I can have that effect on someone during this new journey as well!

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12 Week Half Marathon Training Schedule

You set the goal and signed up for the race. Now it’s time to start training in preparation for your half marathon.

Here is an example of a 12 week half marathon training schedule:

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No matter if it’s your first, fifth or 100th half marathon, it’s important to stick to your scheduled runs in order to be ready for race day.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t tweak your schedule to make it work for you. For example, maybe you’d rather have Wednesdays as a rest day instead of Monday.

As long as you are consistent with your training, including making sure to get those long runs in, you can achieve your goal.

Make sure to cross train by hitting the gym for some weights or taking a fun cardio class in order to keep your muscles guessing, break up the monotony and keep your whole body strong.

Before you know it, race day will be here.

 

Photo: jayneandd | Flickr

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Are You Ready To Race? Just Sign Up And Set That Goal

If you ever contemplate whether or not you should go for a run, just do it. You won’t regret it even if it winds up being a slow and steady jog.

The same applies to when contemplating whether or not you should make that jump and go ahead and sign up for your first race.

Don’t worry about if you a ready; just sign up!  Of course pick a race date that gives you enough time to properly train.

It might be a leap of faith you take since you may doubt if you will be able to do itl, but put in the hard work and see this goal through and you will not disappoint yourself.

I am no stranger to races, having a few 5ks, half marathons and even a Spartan Race under my belt. But after taking a few weeks off to have a baby, returning back to running has me feeling like I am starting over from scratch.

And that’s okay.

Whether you fall off the wagon and take a long break, have to take a long break because of an injury, illness or happy live event like bringing a new life into the world, running will always welcome you back with open arms—your legs might just be a little bit more sore than when you were at your best.

For me, one of the best ways to hold myself accountable in my fitness and running goals is to sign up for races. It’s that end goal that I strive for, something work towards and look forward to. It’s experiencing and learning about myself physically and mentally through the journey along the way, and the satisfaction of succeeding and following through on a promise I made to myself on race day.

But at 9 weeks postpartum I find myself debating if I should register for my first half of 2017, a race that would take place in April. My running senses are tingling tonight, and I want nothing more than to get up and out and start training. But the other part of me is worried I won’t be able to juggle being a mom, going bak to work full time, and getting in scheduled runs.

Superwoman much?

Well, that’s exactly what I’ll be.

Yes, I might get tired and might doubt myself throughout the training. But it’s rising above those feelings that will make it so worth it. You might not feel ready now, but in 12 weeks time (for a half, for example) you will be.

And no matter how busy your life is, scheduling your runs can be done. Just think about it, the longest run during the week will only be say 5 miles. And then one day of weekend will be set aside for long runs. This means, for me, hopping on the treadmill after work while the baby naps or plays nearby. Or having the hubby keep the baby entertained while heading to the gym for cross training.

And by the time spring rolls around, baby will come along in the stroller.

My advice would be to go for it, sign up for that race and set that goal. It will be so worth it.

Then again, you might want to think twice if you a frequent flyer— these runners can tell you that racing becomes addicting!

 

Photo: daveynin | Flickr

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What Celebrities Have Ran A Marathon

Our culture puts Hollywood A-listers on a pedestal, but you may be surprised to find some put the pedal to the medal as far as running goes. Forrest Gump isn’t the only person on the big screen to enjoy running. While celebs sure know how to live the life of luxury, they also know how to put in the hard work, not only professionally, but also in regards to their personal fitness. Running is the best exercise for the body, right runners?

Here are celebrities runners who have completed marathons and other distances.

Ryan Reynolds

 Anthony Quintano./ Flickr
Anthony Quintano./ Flickr

Actor Ryan Reynolds not only showed his super hero strength in the Green Lantern, but he also proved he has some serious leg strength, finishing the 2008 New York Marathon in 3:50:22. We defiantly would run faster if he was racing with us.

Katie Holmes

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dailyactress/Tumblr

When we think of Katie Holmes, we think of her role on Dawson’s Creek, her adorable daughter Suri and her sense of fashion. But you may be surprised to know that Holmes is also a rune,r finishing the 2007 New York City Marathon in 5:29:58.

Mario Lopez

 Richard Sandoval
Richard Sandoval

We all know A. C. Slater was athletic (remember that ballet scene?), but Mario Lopez also works on his fitness off screen. Now a TV personality, Lopez competed in the Boston Marathon in 2002 in 5:41:42, and PR’ed at the 2011 New York City Marathon in 2011.

Heidi Klum

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jingdianmeinv1

How do you get a super model body? By running of course. Model Heidi Klum is known to be a avid runner, who loves to run outdoors in Central Park. She also is says she runs 30 minutes on the treadmill when she has to.

Will Ferrell

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yourreactiongifs/Tumblr

You might have seen the clips of Ferrell’s HBO special where he played all the positions of baseball, but funyman Will Ferrell in no stranger to sports. He ran the Boston Marathon in 3:56:12, as well as the 2001 New York City Marathon in 5:01 and Stockholm 2002 in 4:28. Talk about a great PR!

Ellie Goulding

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viral-motivation/Tumblr

Singer Ellie Goulding is seriously fit. She often teaches fitness classes when she’s not entertaining her fans on stage. She completed the 2013 Nike Women’s Half Marathon in 1:41:33.

Edward Norton

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viktorh10/Tumblr

You may have seen him in Birdman, but you may also see actor Edward Norton out on the road running. He completed the 2009 New York City Marathon in 3:48:01.

Oprah Winfrey

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oceans-glitter/Tumblr

You get a medal, you get a medal, everyone gets a medal! Oh how we would love to run with Oprah. Proving she does everything, Oprah Winfrey added runner to her resume when she ran the Maring Corps Marathon in 1993 in 4:29:20.

Josh Duhamel

celebguyswithbabies/Tumblr
celebguyswithbabies/Tumblr

Fergie’s hubby Josh Duhamel just got even hotter because he raised money after the tsunami in Japan by organizing a  two-mile run for the cause in 2011.

Other celeb runners include Sean “Diddy” Combs, Drew Carey, Renee Zellweger, Reese Witherspoon, Alanis Morisette, Al Gore, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, and even Shia LaBeouf.

Photo:

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Apple’s Watch Reveal Features Marathoner Christy Turlington Burns: Why The Apple Watch Is Ideal For Runners

Today was Apple’s highly-anticipated “Spring Forward” event that featured the reveal of the iWatch. Runners may be interested to know that Apple CEO Tim Cook spent a decent time during the discussion to talk about how the Apple Watch may be the perfect tech gadget for runners.

Cook’s presentation featured the appearance of model, marathoner and founder of Every Mother Counts Christy Turlington Burns, who is the first person to use the smart watch as a fitness tracker outside of Apple.

Turlington Burns is featured in promo video for the Watch, saying its motivation not just for training, but also for every day things. She used Apple Watch during the Kilimanjaro Half Marathon and says she plans to using it during her next race as well.

“I rely on it quite heavily actually,” she said. “In the short time I’ve been using it, I can already see how this is going to become an important part of my life.”

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Turlington Burns will also be blogged for Apple.com to share her journey while training with the smart watch for the London Marathon.

So why is so ideal for runners? Apple Watch is equipped with the Workout app, which shows real-time data for the time, distance, calories, pace and running speed when working out. You can a goal for each workout and get a summary of what you accomplished. While this is nothing new, the Workout app synchs this data towards your overall Activity for the day.

The Activity app is the coolest feature. It features a Move ring that shows calories burned, how long you’ve exercised for and you often you stand. It pretty much measures “all the ways you move” without you having to set a thing.

PHOTO: Apple
PHOTO: Apple

While running, you can get updates along the way. The watch lets you know when you’ve reached another mile or at a milestone so you stay motivated.

PHOTO: Apple
PHOTO: Apple

The band on the watch is comfortable, yet the watch is durable.

Apple Watch pretty much combines all your health apps into one sleek place all accessible from the convince of your wrist. However, this all comes at a price. Apple Watch retails at a starting price of $350 and can run into the thousands.

Preorders for Apple Watch start on April 10 and will be on sale starting April 24.

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When To Take A Break From Half Marathon Training

Wanted to take a minute to bring you all up to speed on my half marathon training. After finishing my  5k in 30-minutes, 30-seconds, I had never felt so strong! However, I was super sore the next day and moved by long-distance run from Sunday to Monday. I also had to make some other adjustments, but I’ll get into that in a minute.

Also since my Valentine’s Day 5K, I have been non-stop rungry. I tend to go through week periods where I don’t have an appetite and have to really be mindful that I am consuming enough calories, followed by periods where I can’t stop eating. The later has been taking place for the past week.

I really can’t believe week 4 of my training is almost coming to a close after Sunday’s long run. Funny how fast time flies. My third week was really strong, I got all my scheduled runs in, plus PR’ed at my race. I ran a total of 14.8 out of 13 planned miles.

This week has been really shaky. Because of my work schedule, I can’t help but be tired all the time. I was doing fine until Monday and Tuesday where I got to work from home and catch up on sleep with lots of naps. I feel like my body now remembered how much I treasure sleep because I have had a sleep hangover all week.

Monday was a 6.5 mile run to make up for Sunday, followed by 3 miles on Tuesday. Wednesday was supposed to be sprints and cross train, but I decided to go get my nails done for sister time with my older sister after work and she sidelined me by asking me to go to the movies. By the time I got home, there was no run for me. Thursdays are my super long day, getting home at 10 p.m. I tried to get my run in last night, so determined to do it even though I was dead tired. My scheduled 3.5 turned into 1 mere mile. I felt horrible.
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Even still, I have completed 9.6 out of 13 scheduled miles with 7 planned for Sunday. Since I plan on running tonight and tomorrow, I know I will have hit my target.

So when is it okay to take a break from half marathon training?

I am part of several running communities on Facebook and have seen newbie half runners asking if it’s okay to take a a day off or moving a scheduled run. They stress that all their progress will disappear and they won’t be prepared, even though race day is 2 months away.

I’m hear to tell you that it’s defiantly okay to take a break with a rest day or two if you need it. If you are feeling sick, take the time to rest. One day off is better than a week you might need off if you don’t take care of yourself. If you have an injury, or feel like you may like spin splints for example, take the time to rest. It’s also okay to move your runs around if you need to. As long as you need the miles in, you cares that you swapped a rest day for a run day?

Nutrition and sleep are the two most important aspects of training. So make sure to listen to your body and take care of it properly. The next day you head out for a run, chances are you will feel more energized and really give it your all. Avoid doubling up on workouts if you feel guilty for missing one. This can only lead to injury. Instead, give put all your effort into the next one.

Today is a new day and I plan on getting in those 3.5 miles I missed. Going forward, I am swearing off pizza and sweats because they are only making me feel more lethargic. I am also going to make sure I cross train a bit more, since I’ve been slacking on that front. Every day is a fresh day and this slightly bad week will escape my mind and be replaced by a better week moving forward.

How is your training going? What are you training for? Do you have any training tips?

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[PHOTO CREDIT:

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Running Excitement

Hey my sole friends! (See what I did there? LOL)

I just wanted to share my excitement that my treadmill has finally arrived! As I am writing this, the nice guys from Sears are putting it together in my basement, and I could not be more excited.

Excited for a treadmill you may say? Well, of course I want to be outside, but it’s also snowing again here (with more snow on Monday and Wednesday) and that means more of the white, fluffy turn icy mess that I hate to be in.

I also am going to be commuting to work now, meaning that by the time I get home to run, it will be late. I would rather be safe and get my training runs in from the comfort of my own home. I can’t wait until it says light out longer and when there isn’t so much snow, but until then at least I get to keep up on running, fitting it in my busy schedule.

I can’t wait to have my first run on it, and will probably aim for a over 5 mile run. Let’s see how far I can go.

To celebrate the new love of my life, here are some running quotes to get you inspired to keep on running.

PC: www.iloverunningmagazine.com
PC: www.iloverunningmagazine.com
PC: myheartandhamstrings.wordpress.com
PC: myheartandhamstrings.wordpress.com

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PC: look-alikes-pictures.picphotos.net
PC: look-alikes-pictures.picphotos.net
PC: steveinaspeedo/Tumblr
PC: steveinaspeedo/Tumblr

[PHOTO CREDIT:

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Third Time’s The Charm: Training For My Third Half Marathon

There is something so exciting about starting a new adventure—especially when it comes to training. In just 12 short weeks, a cocktail of nerves and excitement will flow through my veins, as I cross the finish line buzzed with accomplishment. I can hardly wait.

But race day is more about having fun and enjoying the experience (not matter how hard it gets and how sore your muscles may feel). It real journey is going through training, putting in those miles, strengthening your body and mind, all while juggling and balancing all that life has to offer.

Unfortunately, I decided to cancel my third scheduled half in October, for some much needed rest. But I am dying to finally race again—and this will be an awesome race because I finally be running one in NYC!

Okay, so technically I’ve ran a half in Brooklyn and another one in Queens, but I will be running the More/Fitness Half in Central Park on April 19. So happy to finally be running in Manhattan! (I am also thinking about running the Women’s First Half Marathon in BK in late March, but will see once the date gets closer. This race holds a special place in my heart since it was my first half, and the route includes all flat lands, perfect for a PR and trail run before the Central Park hilly half. We’ll see for now.)

Now, I am all about running outside. HOWEVER, I am not about running where there are no sidewalks,  black ice, and lots and lots of snow. I also am suffering from a head cold (since everyone in my house is sick and also I took off my running jacket during a 4 mile run a few days ago and think the cold got to me.), so I want to make sure I can continue to run without getting sick the rest of the winter. Now I do layer up, wear gloves and all that jazz, but I am also changing my work situation, meaning it will probably be late-night by the time I get to run.

So I decided to gift myself a treadmill (since it was just my birthday!) I originally was going to go with the NordicTrack 900i, but they were back ordered and I probably wouldn’t get it for over a month. So I went with the Nordic Track C 800.

spin_prod_1243327012It was on sale, so that’s a plus, has 24 preloaded workouts, is iFit compatible, has a fan, heart rate monitors, 1-12 mph, 0-12 % incline, and folds up. My new baby will be shipped on Friday, so I couldn’t be happier.

I left feeling so excited, and hit up the supermarket to get organic fruits and veggies for proper nutrition and more vegan items. (Yum!!)

Then my sister came to bring me a care package of cold medicine and treats so I get well soon and we went to Walmart. We both got some new workout pants and shirts and other fitness items.

strap and ropeI picked up Gold’s Gym stretch straps to help increase my flexibility, strength my ore and really get deep stretches in. I also got Gold’s Gym Speed Jump Rope for some cardio on cross training days, Then I couldn’t resist getting the Gold’s Gym Ab Wheel to again, get that core strong. I am really going to give it my all over the next 12 weeks and couldn’t feel more prepared.

FullSizeRenderIt seems like I am going to have my own little personal gym in the basement to go along with my yoga matt, toning ball and weights!
proteinI also picked up some other treats for pre and post workouts. Anyone get some running goodies over the weekend?