Sunday, January 30, 2011

What beautiful weather!

Atlanta is experiencing some amazing spring-like weather at the moment, which is remarkable considering most of us were iced in our homes and the city was completely shut down for nearly a week just a couple weeks ago. We're all so giddy over the weather I think everyone has at least made it outside and taken in some fresh air. The Cumming Greenway was so packed people were parking on the main roads, friends are commenting that they've visited local parks themselves, and I don't think I've seen this many motorcycles on the road in a long time. It's like we all got a boost of energy because of the warmth and fresh air.

Yesterday's run was really good, although I've come to accept that I tend to perform better when it's a little cooler outside. I've also learned that if I'm going to take as long as I do to run longer distances, I need to get up earlier so it doesn't get in the way of the rest of my day. When Spring finally comes around, I'll adjust to the weather. It still feels strange to wear shorts right now, although they're needed since tights are way too hot.

Today's recovery run went very well. Slow, but good. With lots of walk breaks. My legs are very tired the day after the long run (duh!), but the value of the recovery run is I'm not stiff and the lactic acid gets worked out of my muscles, easing the soreness tremendously. The new shoes are helping a lot too. It's amazing how the right pair of shoes can make running so much better. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - if you don't know what kind of shoes to wear go to a running specialty store. I know it costs a little extra cash, but it's worth every penny. Then once you know what kind of shoes to buy, go online and buy them cheap somewhere else. That's what I did! Now my shoes are about $30 less online, so I buy two pairs to rotate them out to preserve the cushioning.

I need to read some more from the material I have at home about the kinds of foods I need to be eating. When I learn more, I'll post more here. Happy running!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Half-way there...

So I realized that with my long run tomorrow I'll be able to cover roughly half of the distance required for the half marathon. I run/walk 7 miles tomorrow, which is gonna kick my butt but will be awesome!

When I was running yesterday, I realized I haven't really improved much on my running in terms of how far I can run before taking a break. And you know what? That's okay. So I can't really run more than 1.5 miles before taking a walk break. If I focus on that aspect of my training, I'll lose sight of the total distance which is important. I'll worry about that later. I'm already doing a lot better than I was two months ago. Progress can be very slow, and that's natural for everyone. In fact, CNN has a great article about why some people give up working out. Now gyms see the natural decline from people giving up on their resolutions and goals already. Come on folks - it's only been 28 days! Of course you haven't become a marathon runner/body builder/triathalon winner yet! Your body is still adjusting to the fact that you're being more active.

It's tough to keep motivation high when you're frustrated, but I promise it gets better with time. Trust me; I know. =)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Training update

Let me just start this out with I hate treadmills. I think they not only bore you to death, but they also change your stride in a detrimental way. After I ran on the treadmill last week, my right leg hurt so bad I couldn't run very well Saturday. Then I had to wait until yesterday to run again. Granted, it was a combination of treadmill, weather, and old shoes, but boy did my leg hurt.

Instead of beating myself up over having to take a little time off, I just took it easy and remembered that it would be better to stay healthy than hurt myself even more. On a good note, training went well this weekend. I've been having a lot of success with the run/walk routine, and I noticed my training log has no space for speed notations. That's awesome! I think it's more important to complete your distance safely than try to beat yourself up because you didn't run it fast enough. The better you get, the faster you naturally become. I realized that by trying to avoid walk breaks when I was training for the Peachtree I set myself up for injury. I'm definitely enjoying training a lot more this time around.

As far as cross training goes, I haven't had much time for it. I'm gonna focus on trying to incorporate it more this week. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just say no to diet pills

I won't go into too much detail, but check this article out about the dangers of internet diet pills. I know it's tempting to turn to a quick fix when you're frustrated with weight loss (or the lack thereof), but please don't turn to diet pills. Most don't work, and many can harm you or even kill you.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Time to get serious about cross training

Why, you ask? Well, it's always been a good idea to strengthen the muscles you use for running to improve running performance. I want to make sure I don't hurt myself training, which means it's time to focus on stronger muscles. The stronger and fitter I am, the less likely I am to have a running-related injury. I even have a day dedicated to cross training in my training plan, but I haven't taken advantage of it yet. This coming week I will.

Here are the kinds of exercises I'm thinking of incorporating from Runner's World. We'll see what I decide on Wednesday. I'll get Rex to join me for some of these, and he also has the P90x series on DVD. That might be a fun addition after the half marathon.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dieting and Health Myths

I was really glad to come across this article about the realities of food and how it impacts your health. I remember when Rex was working out with a personal trainer who insisted I quit cooking with butter and move to a butter substitute. He must have said some nasty things about me to Rex because I was told Mr. I Hate Real Food wanted to talk to me personally about my sinful ways. His goal was just to be skinny. I just couldn't understand the benefit of eating a fake spray that supposedly tasted like butter rather than just using a little of the real stuff.

Anyhoo, the article I mention above busts a lot of myths like the one I discussed. Sure, eating a whole stick of butter is bad. No one is suggesting you do that. I think I'll begin eating more baked potatoes though. They're loaded with potassium, and that's essential for maintaining normal blood pressure.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I have survived Snowmageddon!

For those that haven't noticed, Atlanta and much of the deep South got its first taste of real snow since 1993. That's right - the last time we dealt with this much snow was nearly 20 years ago. I had just moved from Alaska, and I remember my family thinking it was hilarious that a couple inches was called a blizzard. We also thought it was hilarious we got to miss school for a couple days and disappointed that the cable went out.

Needless to say this particular snow storm left much to be desired. It was really pretty and fun the first two days. Now I think it's safe to say all Atlanta residents are really sick of the white stuff that has unfortunately turned into super slick ice all over everything.

This has put a real damper on my training. Tuesday was a wash - no running outside due to the ice, and no access to a treadmill. Today I ran on a treadmill with the help of a friend and his apartment gym. I hope Saturday ends up being much better. We finally get warmer temps by tomorrow, which will hopefully thaw the roads and trails.

As far as training goes, it's been going well so far aside from the weather speed bump. I decided ultimately to use the original training plan I had chosen a while ago. It turns out that I needed a lot more time to follow the Galloway training plan, but that's fine. The rest of the book has been very useful for other parts of my training. Since I've let go of how fast I thought I ought to be running, I've been able to just enjoy being able to accomplish the distances whether by running or using run/walk. It's been really nice to let go of all that stress and just enjoy the moment.

I hope everyone has been able to enjoy the new year so far, snow or no snow. If you made a resolution, I hope you're sticking to it!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Weight loss tips

If you're like millions of Americans who have made weight loss their number one resolution, you may find this article helpful. It highlights the small changes we can make to help lose weight without derailing our success. Good luck!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone enjoyed a safe and fun holiday season! Although I love Christmas and Thanksgiving, I'm also glad they're over. Now I can quit eating all that yummy but fattening food and focus on starting over.

Speaking of a fresh start, Rex and I headed out today for a short run. I remember when two miles was a long distance, but now it's just adding to my foundation. To help with my training, I bought a new training log that is packed with tips and pictures. It'll be good to be able to see my progress in this format. It's been a while since I've kept a log, and I forgot how useful they are.

Here's to an awesome 2011!!