Saturday, May 4, 2013


I haven't talked about my own running in quite some time.

This is for a couple reasons:

1)  It's not exactly rocket science on my part.  I have no magical training techniques and I remain quite the hobby jogger.   Hurrah!

2) I was running really poorly over the fall and semi poorly over the winter.  I like to brag as much as the much average Jane and when I run crappy workouts, there's little opportunity to do this.  Dangit!

But I am still running.  And it's going ok.  Here's #proof.

A couple notes.  Yes, that's a text string to OUAL and I still have her in my phone as "Sarah-Soon-To-Be"!  Also, she broke her phone so it's not like she was a jerk to not reply to the upper congratulatory text.  

I digress. The point is that I've actually been training.   I'm planning to run the Mountains to Beach Half Marathon in three weeks and ever since I ran the Lucky Half in Sacramento I've been trying to add extra intensity into my workouts.   I feel like there's potential to PR although no guarantee.   Also, Mountains to Beach has an elevation drop of about 200 feet which is not enough to make it a cheater course (I think?) but enough to make it a damn easy course (I hope).

I've been running a lot of tempo-ish stuff on the treadmill at 1% incline.   I've been pretty consistent about doing two tempo / speed sessions and one fast finish long run on weekends.  I'm still not sure if running fast on the treadmill equals running fast without a giant moving belt under you outside, but hey, it makes it easy to get the workout in and workout > no workout, right?

Here are three workouts I've done that make me think I don't suck:

1) 6- mile tempo "wave" at around 7:04 about two weeks ago.

I don't really know the science behind the wave tempo, and I altered the pace from 7:30 to 6:40 throughout this run.  All I know is that altering the pace every 800 meters keeps me from going insane or quitting.

2) 3 @ 6:54 pace, 1.5 @ 6:43 pace and 1@ 6:35 pace with 2.5 minutes rest between intervals.   

I made this one up as I went along.  I figured, start around threshold pace for a faster-side short tempo, and then run a little faster on tired legs.  I was happy about it because 5 miles of tempo-y intervals around 10k pace can't be a bad thing, right?

3) 9.5 miles easy + 5 miles at 7:15 pace.  

I did this today as some sort of "peak" workout for the half training.  It hurt like hell (see above text).  Honestly it felt harder than it should.  This concerns me.  But I've been traveling a ton lately, eating terribly, and sleeping not-enough so I figured, if I could do this feeling like crap, maybe it's a good sign for how I can run fully rested.

Which brings me to my next question:  How do you prioritize running in your life?   And how do you remain fully functional even if you get up really early, run a really hard workout, etc?

I struggle with this.  I mean it's easy to say "Oh I wake up at 3 AM to run 15 miles and I just make myself do it", but I mean...if I do something like that, I am risking feeling bad for the rest of the day.   I'm risking losing productivity because I need to go back and take a nap or just can't function well.  I'm human and stuff and I am one of those people that needs sleep.

And with other priorities it can be tough to be productive when all you want to do is lay on the floor and foam roll.   I noticed this particularly when I was in Florida for a work conference this week (it was honestly not all THAT stressful, see shark fishing pic below.  It's "team building", y'all!).   But it was time-intensive as are all conferences.

For Example:  Prior to all the shark fishing fun, on the first day of the conference, I got up really early to run before all the festivities got started.  Then I got ready to go to sessions, and I couldn't stay awake at all.  I had to go back to my hotel and take a nap I was so exhausted.   I felt guilty because I knew that my exhaustion was a result of my waking up so early to run (going to bed early was not an option because I arrived in town very late).

The same thing has happened when I've run really hard or long workouts before work.

So how do you prioritize your running and your time when you know it might cut into how you perform other activities during the day?   Rearrange things?  Say "screw running" for the day?  Say "screw doing other important stuff" for the day?   Be extra careful about nutrition (because maybe this is a factor)?

I'm still looking for how to balance things AND be 100% present for other things.   And no, chugging espressos every 10 minutes along with slapping myself in the face to wake up is NOT an option.  Not that I've tried that, of course.


  1. I suck at this as well. I had a hard run Thursday morning and I was pretty much a zombie all day at work

  2. I go through the sleepy thing often, especially on Tuesdays when I'm in the thick of training for something. I usually have a speed workout that I have to get up early for and then I have to work until 9 p.m. and don't get home until after 10. I've resigned myself to the idea that running is important enough to me right now that on Tuesdays (and sometimes Wednesdays) I'm groggy at work and do the minimum there rather than my best. I try to make up for it the rest of the time, when I'm awake enough to be "on" at work, and I also try to go to bed earlier on the six nights when I'm NOT working late.

    It's a really tough thing to balance. I'm lucky that I work part-time, so I can take naps on Thursday and Friday if I need to. But I've also got kids who sometimes have issue at night, and a night-owl husband--if I want to spend time alone with him, which of course I do, it means staying up later than I really should sometimes.

  3. I think you're perfect just the way you are. Don't change a single thing, starshine.

    ps I miss when my texts were blue and not stupid green.

  4. i thought running was AT the very LEAST rocket science because there are sooooooooo many blogs that talk about everyday running which seems like mostly common sense (what not to do on race day OMG!) and i don't see a ton of blogs about rocket science which is likely a lot more technical. please start a rocket science blog, i think it'll fill a good niche!

    1. Next up: Post on WHAT NOT TO DO ON RACE DAY :)

    2. Please have lots of pictures in this blog!!!

  5. I usually say "screw doing other important stuff for the day."

    But I only do really high-mileage/hard midweek workouts during the peak weeks of marathon training, and I only do intense marathon training once a year. So, I can get away with not doing important stuff a few days a week for a few weeks, I think.

  6. I mean. Unless I'm getting paid to do some shit, I'm likely to put real-life stuff in front of it - like the kids, or that guy I married. I half-assed my Eugene training because of family stuff, and it showed - but the course was beautiful, and I had a fun time catching up with a friend I don't see a lot. So what if I didn't PR (when I really should have by now), and my right leg is still being an asshole (I guess that happens when you run 50% of your training cycle). It was a fun time.

    For me, the time I spent not training when I should have been outweighed the desire for a speedier race. That's how I prioritize - if it's really, REALLY important to me to run better, I'll put some family stuff on the back burner if I need to/can, for awhile. If that makes sense?

    TL;DR: it's just running, and unless you're making it your living, it's not worth it to overthink it. Run when you can, when you want to, and know there's always another race.

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  8. You are only the second person that I've heard is running Mountains 2 Beach! I'm doing the full (if my hip cooperates these next few weeks) so it's probably not all that likely I'll run into you, but still cool to know. :)

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  16. Bad news -- Mountains to Beach is in fact technically a cheater course. There goes your shot at a world record... The rules are pretty strict about elevation drop and over 100 feet in a full would disqualify it, let alone 200 feet for a half.

    As to making running fit, I'd also struggle w/ something like a conference and flights screwing up my schedule, but at home, for me, the choice is early to bed, early morning run, and then I'm usually fine for the day (my job is interesting and engaging, a conference could be tougher). If I choose to prioritize something over running the night before (i.e., staying out too late), that's a choice I'll sometimes make, but I'm pretty good at usually limiting it to the night before an off day or an easy day, mostly just because running is one of my fave things and being productive at work is a necessary thing.

    1. Oops, I meant a drop of over 100 meters would disqualify a full. Either way, 200 feet in a half or a full would make in ineligble for a record, and therefore a cheater.

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