Repeat after me

Repeat after me: miles do not equal workouts. I have talked about this before (May 2011, to be exact), but as much as I’d like to believe that just running a lot will make me a better runner, it won’t. Sure, I have a pretty good aerobic endurance, but am I in shape to run a 5k? Do I have the strength needed to rock a 10k PR? Absolutely not. But nonetheless, I ended up running a 5k on Sunday. I’ve run the Coogan’s Shamrocks, Salsa, and Blues 5k every year since 2009 as it’s usually the first scoring race for New York area running clubs and it’s also a fun atmosphere. There are a bunch of bands playing music and everyone gets really into cheering. It’s a pretty hilly course and times are never super fast, but regardless of the hills I should have run faster than my time of 21:11 (6:50 pace).

There are a number of reasons why I didn’t run as fast as I would have liked. The first is that, unlike 2010 and 2011, I am training for a marathon this year. This means I’ve done less track work (speed!!) and focused more on miles and those pesky 18-20 mile runs. It’s not a secret – if you do speed work, you will get faster. If you skimp on intervals and tempo runs (ahem Megan 2012 ahem), you will not. So that’s probably 70% of the reason why this race was slow. You have to pick your battles and  sometimes I only have the mental energy for either a long run or a workout. And with marathon training, the long run usually wins out. Ideal? No, obviously not, but alas I am not super runner woman. I’m going to attribute the other 30% of why this race was bad to chance. Remember back in August when I ran a really crappy 5-mile race? It sucked, but then a month later I ran a half marathon at basically the same pace and it felt a lot easier. Sometimes race day just isn’t your day and with all that’s happened this week (oh good bye job…) my head was not 100% in the racing game. This wasn’t a goal race and I got in a good workout, so I’m not going to dwell too much on why I didn’t run faser. Onwards and upwards!

Last week was a bit of a step back week (52 miles total, long run of 12 miles), but this upcoming week will be more intense. Here’s the plan:

Monday, March 5 – 5.5 mile recovery run, strength training (abs, lunges, push-ups).

Tuesday, March 6 – 11.5 miles total, including 8 x 400m at 5k pace w/ 200m recovery (96, 95, 96, 94, 94, 93, 92, 93). I did these by myself with a bit of a headwind, so I’m pretty pleased with the times. I stayed close to goal 5k pace (no faster), so that my legs will still have a little somethin’ in them for Thursday’s workout. Also, can I just say that I felt a little crazy running 400m intervals by myself in the middle of desolate Red Hook track complex? The only people I encountered were a few elderly men and they gave me some strange looks. Mid-day track workouts are  definitely one of the perks of being unemployed, so I guess I shouldn’t complain.

Wednesday, March 7 – 8 miles a.m., 3 miles p.m., strength training.

Thursday, March 8 – 6 miles morning, 10 miles evening including THE BEAST ( 8 mile tempo run with the CPTC crew – first 4 miles at marathon pace, next 4 miles at half marathon pace). We do this workout a few times a year and while it’s tough, I secretly like it. Long, grinding efforts are what I’m good at. Also, I realize how crazy that sounds.

Friday, March 9 – 6 miles, as easy and SLOW as possible.

Saturday, March 10 – 20 miles (will attempt to get progressively faster if I feel good).

Sunday, March 11 – 7 mile, recovery run.

Total: 77 miles (subject to change, obviously this is best case scenerio)

6 weeks until Boston and do I feel ready? No. And honestly, that is really scary. I don’t want to embarrass myself on race day! But you know what? I am going to try my best over the next 6 weeks and that’s all I can do. Worrying about missed tempo runs or slow races or comparing myself to other Boston racers is not going to be helpful. I need to focus on positive ways to improve rather than dwelling on the negative. Okay, self-pep talk over.

But speaking of pep talks – I really appreciated all of the kind words and encouragement that I received on my last post. Being laid off is not ideal, but I’m feeling really positive about how things are going to turn out.

I know these “vote for me!” requests are kind of annoying, but Fitness Magazine is holding a contest for the best healthy living/running/fitness blog and Runner’s Kitchen has been nominated. Help a girl out?

Finally, I have something fun to give away! My friend Kate started NaturaStride.com, a company whose mission is to provide distance runners and endurance athletes with organic and natural alternatives to performance nutrition products including energy bars, drinks, snacks, and other wholesome foods. There’s a new bar on the market called Kate’s Stash Bars. They have similar nutrition stats to a Clif bar, but extra goodies like flax and hemp seed. I have been eating one (or more) every day since I got my own box. They taste like a very seedy, nutty, yummy granola bar and unlike most energy bars, they don’t have added vitamins and minerals which I like because I feel that it gives the bar a weird aftertaste.  In this give away, the winner will receive a case of 12 Kate’s Stash bars and a cool ThinkSport bottle. Yay, free stuff.

To enter the give away, leave me a comment telling me about your very first run. How far was it? Who were you with? Did running 1/2 mile make you want to keel over? Hearing about people became runners always makes me smile and I could use all the smiles I can get these days! I’ll choose a winner on Monday, March 12th. 

And if you want to just go ahead and order some Stash bars, picky bars, etc. for yourself, you can get a 25% discount on the Naturastride site for the entire month of March if you use the promo code RUNNERSKITCHEN. I like discounts!

  • Elyssa

    my first fun run was a turkey trot (3 mile thanksgiving run) with my dad in middle school. it became a yearly tradition…who doesnt enjoy an early morning workout of thanksgiving that takes away some of the thanksgiving food guilt

  • Ellen

    I don’t remember my first run except that I never thought I was “meant to be a runner” and now I am running Marathon #7 on March 18th. Turns out, I was meant to run and I kinda love it! 

  • I started running the summer before my senior year of high school. I honestly don’t remember what compelled me to do so, but it was probably a mile or two along the East River.

  • Bethp262

    I don’t remember my first run specifically but I first ran in high school on the track team. I joined because I thought it would be a good way to lose a few pounds. I was one of the slowest girls on the team but still had fun. I was usual one of the last two girls to finish the workout each day… But finally one day I finished with some of the “fast girls” and felt so good!!

  • Liz

    The first real run I remember was the mile in P.E. class in junior high. I’m pretty sure I skipped the last lap so that I could finish with other people…I’ve come such a long way since then!

  • Kate

    My very first run was with my dad when I was six. We lived in Panama (he was in the Army) and our base sponsored a 1 mile fun run for fathers and daughters. I just found the t-shirt from it the other day 🙂

  • I tried to run a lot on and off during high school, but I always count my first run on my path to becoming a runner (a word I finally feel like I can use to describe myself!) as happening during my senior year of high school. I was majorly senior slumping, feeling antsy and bored and unhappy with myself, so I signed up for a 5K that was two months away and told myself I’d have to be ready to run the race in two months. That afternoon, I headed out to Prospect Park and dragged myself through one loop around the long meadow (about 1.5 miles). The run didn’t feel good, but it was a sunny April day and I was so happy to be outdoors so I felt good about it. I still feel that way about most of my runs. 

  • Anonymous

    yay, brooklyn! if you’re ever in the ‘hood, let me know 🙂

  • Allie

    In middle school, we would run around our school and the yard and call it cross country in gym class, as there were some hills and stairs… we were in the middle of the city and didn’t have much space but I loved doing those loops of the school.

  • Yay, I love NaturaStride and those bars look delish!   My very first run was a Fourth of July 1-mile neighborhood fun run.  I was about 10 years old at the time, and I actually thought it was FUN (absurd)!  My aunt came to watch the race, and I remember how proud she was of me, and that made me feel so proud of myself!  I honestly have been hooked on running ever since, I’ve always loved the idea of trying to beat my own best time, and  I’m still chasing down PRs 🙂

  • Kar

    Those bars would be interesting to try, seems sort of like a Larabar which I’m familiar with.  I don’t recall my very first run–I was always in sports and ran all the time in middle school and high school.  I suppose college was technically me first just running, running. 🙂  It started out small scale, but my first race was a half marathon and I’ve been obsessed ever since!

  • Erin Cochran

    Wooord. I live a few blocks from the Bedford-Nostrand G but work near the Clinton-Washington C. If I see ya I’ll say hello and try not to sound like a total creeper 😀