Friday, September 30, 2011

Week 14/17 HM Training - Run #3 7K instead of 16K

So much for a 16K LSD today - LOL!

My intentions were good. I was up at the crack of dawn with the intention of getting my LSD for the week done today. I left Angus at home because this distance is too far for him, but William Wallace came with me.

It started slowly and it didn't feel good. I really was running much, much slower than I usually do, even when it's hot and humid. As usual, I gave myself until the 2-3 km mark to 'judge' what this run was going to be like because I need this mileage to warm-up properly. However, by the 5K mark, I was still running very slow and sluggishly, and I knew right then and there that it wasn't mental, but truly physical - it was just not an ideal day for me to run this distance - period. I knew I was running slow because Wallace kept looking up at me inquisitively, as if to say, "What's the deal with this slow speed?" The first turn-off point to head home from the running path was at the 7K mark so I ran until this mark, stopped, and called it a day.

It is what it is! No regrets. No beating myself up about it. Just acceptance, calling it a day, and moving forward. :) I am relieved that I didn't keep to the schedule with a speed workout today after all because there is no way that would have worked out this morning after all!

Rest day tomorrow (no 5K). 10K race on Sunday. TGIF and have a good running weekend! :)


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART I: What Kind of Food Should I Eat?
(Mostly plants.)

RULE #30 - Eat well-grown food from healthy soil.

It would have been easier to say "eat organic" and it is true that food certified organic is usually well grown in relatively healthy soil - soil nourished by organic matter rather than chemical fertilizers. (It also will contain little or no residue from synthetic pesticides or pharmaceuticals.) Yet there are exceptional farmers and ranchers in America who for one reason or another are not certified organic, and the excellent food they grow should not be overlooked. (And just because a food is labeled organic does not mean it's good for you: Organic soda is still soda - a large quantity of utterly empty calories.)

We now have a body of research supporting the hypothesis, first advanced by organic pioneers Sir Albert Howard and J.I. Rodale, that soils rich in organic matter produce more nutritious food: that is, food with higher levels of antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamins, and minerals. Of course, after a few days riding cross-country in a truck, the nutritional quality of any kind of produce will deteriorate, so ideally you want to eat food that is both organic and local.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Monthly Review - SEPTEMBER 2011

169.2 km


The first time I have run under 200 km in two months.

I ran 32.2 less than last month. This is a result of my taper week for the Springbank Half marathon and the week after, when I was giving my calf muscle seizure a rest from running. It is still my 3rd highest month of the year and my 4th highest month since I started recording so that's saying something! In fact, kind of cool because it was an injury month so it shows how my average runs have increased in mileage overall.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Week 14/17 HM Training - Run #2 TRACK WORKOUT

Scheduled Workout:
1 mile warm-up, 6 x 1 mile @10:31, 1 mile cool-down

Actual Workout:
1.6 km, #1 @10:30, #2 @10:28, #3 @10:25, #4 @10:08, #5 @10:15, #6 @10:43, 1.6 km

Before I start blogging about today's run, I just want to say that it was really worth it for me to read my post from one year ago, on Wednesday, Sept. 29th, titled "12K !!!!!!! I am thrilled !!!!" ... If I needed a reminder as to how far I have come with my running in one year, this is a good example. :) One year ago, I am posting excitedly about running 12K 'without walking breaks', and one year later, I am running ~13 km in a speed workout, running at a pace >1 minute faster. :) Very cool. :)

I checked the weather channel when I woke up this morning, and it assured me that it was going to be a clear day ... I'm just pointing this out because I ended up running for several miles in drizzling rain! It didn't impede my run, and it never became all out, heavier rain, but my faith in The Weather Channel's accuracy is shaken - LOL!

The first three miles (5K) went very, very well: 10:30 (6:31/km), 10:28 (6:30/km), 10:25 (6:28/km)
I like that these miles are within seconds of goal time. I worked hard at finding the correct pace and then at maintaining it - it paid off.

The next 2 miles (3K) were too fast: 10:08 (6:18/km), 10:15 (6:22/km)
I have decided to look at this both ways - I can say, woo hoo! Look at how much faster I run after ~ 7 km (I've noticed this consistently in most of my runs - my speed increases after 7 km). However, I recognize that today's workout is about teaching me to maintain consistent pace, to control myself that I can run 21.1 km successfully and steadily from the start to the end. Within this context, it is evident that I need more practice!

The final mile was too slow: 10:43 (6:40/km)

I am not kidding when I write that I have trouble resuming running after stopping. I took a little extra time between the 5th and 6th miles to get a drink, and as soon as I started my last mile, I could feel right away that it was going to be a struggle. :( I had to coach myself not to quit because this last mile was no fun at all. :( Needless to say, my cool-down 1.6 km was more walking than running.

I was out on the track early before school started so it was interesting to watch as the football team emptied out of the school onto a school bus in full uniform. This explains my Friday Night Lights theme with today's blog images. I wanted to yell out, "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!" to them, but I doubted any of them would get it. It just so happens that I recently downloaded the final season of FNL and that Ben and I are watching a few episodes every night before bed so this is fresh in my head. :)


Kundalini yoga tonight. :) The new schedule is in full swing and I want to check a few more classes out. October is my racing month and I am focused on my four races. Once my season for 2011 officially ends, I hope to make more use of the fitness classes available.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Week 14/17 HM Training - Run #1 11.5K

This pic is what I found under images for "casual, relaxed" ... ?!?!?!!? There were other equally bizarre images, but at least this weird one gave me an excuse to post an image of a dog.

In direct contrast to weather predictions of rain, rain, rain for the week, this morning was sunny, gorgeous, and just the right temperature. :) Thank goodness I had a run scheduled because it would have been very difficult to have a rest day!

The run started out well. Same old, same old. :) A friend drove by me on the bridge and honked at the 2K mark. :) By the 3 km mark, I saw another friend ahead of me with her dog so the three of us stopped to chat and sniff with them (for the record, I chatted only!) as we walked a short distance together. After making arrangements to meet up later in the week, we were off again.

I usually have trouble resuming running after stopping, and today was no exception. The next few km were a little tough to get my legs going again. I so admire people who can run, stop for awhile, and then start running again because I just don't seem to be able to do this 'well.' However, I was farther away from home than not and running at this point was also a mode on transportation to return home in time so off we went ... I had to suck it up. :)

Once again, there wasn't really anything of consequence to report in this post. It was, in general, a sweet, casual, relaxed run (hence the image search that produced a dog in people clothing). :) I was happy to take it easy because I have a speed workout scheduled for tomorrow, and I think last week's enthusiastic and faster 11.5K run tired me out a little too much for the following day's speed assignment.

Of note is the fact that I ran up my nemesis hill once again without stopping, and it made me realize that I have been doing this quite regularly for awhile - should I really be calling it nemesis hill anymore? "Thrill Hill" still fits as an ironic name because there is nothing thrilling about this hill at all. :( But I guess I can now say that I am 'thrilled' that this hill no longer poses an overwhelming challenge to me, that it has slowly over the course of this running season become a 'norm' to run several times per week. :)

Schedule change. :) I have a 10K race in Stratford this coming Sunday - the Festival City Run. :) This is one of the easiest weeks to adjust/switch to accommodate a race in my training schedule. I will run my LSD of 16K on Friday (instead of Sunday), and consider my 10K race on Sunday the equivalent of my speed workout scheduled for Friday. Check this out ... my speed workout is 3 x 2 miles @21:22 so in order to 'meet expectations', I will run need to run 10K (6.2 miles) on Sunday in 1:06:14 (it was a little bit of an effort to figure that one out exactly!). This is not factoring in the two steep hills on the course versus the flat track ideal conditions, but I will mull it over and consider in my race prediction post this coming Saturday evening. :)

Monday, September 26, 2011


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART II: What kind of Food Should I Eat?
(Mostly plants.)

RULE #29 - Eat like an omnivore.

Whether or not you eat any animal foods, it's a good idea to try to add some new species, and not just new foods, to your diet - that is, new kinds of plants, animals, and fungi. The dazzling diversity of food products on offer in the supermarket is deceptive, because so many of them are made from the same small handful of plant species, and most of those - the corn and soy and wheat - are seeds rather than leaves. The greater the diversity of species you eat, the more likely you are to cover all your nutritional bases.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Week 13/17 HM Training - Run #3 TRACK WORKOUT

M = rest day
T = 11.5 km
W = 8.6 km / speed workout
Th = rest day
F = 12.6 km / speed workout
S = rest day
Sun = 19 km LSD

TOTAL = 51.8 km (32.2 miles)

A surprise for me that my mileage for the week is one of my highest (it looks like it's my 3rd highest week to date), and that's with 'only' four workouts. Interesting to see how the training has altered the closer I get to goal half marathon.

Week 13/17 HM Training - Run #4 19K LSD

It turned out to be an awesome week running-wise after all. :)

After last week's imposed rest due to my calf strain /muscle seizure, I was determined to make sure that my Week #13 went according to schedule (while still be 'smart' about my calf). I cancelled last weekend's long run, kept my Monday as a day of rest as regularly scheduled, and then followed my training plan to the "T" this week.

I also admit that I was not looking forward to my 19 km this week. I was feeling nervous about my calf and hoping that this run would not aggravate it. I recognized that my run was supposed to be slow and easy so I intended to keep it this way for the sake of my leg.

Before Wallace and I headed out, I warmed my calf up with a heated bean bag, as I have done all week. It was feeling fine, but I wasn't going to take any chances.

1-4 km = 7:13, 7:18, 7:18, 7:16

There are no stories to tell from today's run ... which is not necessarily a bad thing. :) The weather was perfect for it - cooler, no rain. By the 2 km mark, I was still feeling a little overwhelmed by the 19 km goal so I worked on adjusting my thinking. Instead of concentrating on the full distance, I broke the runs down into familiar landmarks - "run until you reach Labatt's, run until you reach the short, steep hill, run until you see Wellington St.", etc. I also focused on my music, using it as a distraction by concentrating on each song. It worked for me. :) It was a opportunity to listen to the playlist that I created for my Springbank half marathon that I didn't use too much. :)

5-7 km = 7:01, 7:04

8 km = 6:47 :)

9-13 km = 7:05, 7:09, 7:06, 7:05, 7:05, 7:04

14-15 km = 6:57, 6:57 :)

It was a nice, steady, consistent run. While running my 16th km, I could feel myself starting to tire. It came over me in a wave, and I was actually tempted to stop to walk (that's how strong it was). I had expected this - I usually tire at this point during a long run after a full week of training runs/workouts. As much as I wanted to stop, I wanted to achieve 19 km more. :) My pace felt a little more slower and sluggish at this point, but I told myself not to care, and just to keep going. :)

16-17 km = 7:19, 7:20

I also started thinking abut Niagara Falls and how this was good training for the last few km when feeling tired. Did I have it in me to push myself, in spite of feeling tired, and will myself to the end? As you can see by my last 2 kms, this thinking helped me rally:

18-19 km = 7:08, 7:04

So, yes, by the end of this run, I was so pleased! Pleased with the mileage, pleased that I finished it without stopping, and especially pleased that I didn't encounter any issues with my left calf. My right achilles tendon was feeling a little tender (it's the left one I usually have issues with so this just makes me shake my head), but I'm icing it.

Week #13 is over an done with now, peeps! FOUR more weeks! FOUR more weeks! :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Week 13/17 HM Training - Run #3 TRACK WORKOUT

It feel very, very good to have a great track workout. :)

1 mile warm-up; 3 x 2 miles @21:22 (6:38 pace); 1 mile cool-down

1.6 km (1 mile) warm-up; #1 @20:50; #2 @20:20; #3 @21:03

An early morning morning workout in the rain at the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School track. It was great to have the campus to myself and watching the trickle of teachers/staff arriving before their TGIF day. :)

I ran the first workout the "right" way on track. I have to admit that I 'like', not 'love', track workouts these days. They were short and sweet and fun when I did them for my sub-30 5K sessions. I shouldn't be surprised that the track workouts for a half marathon are that much longer ... but I am! LOL! Running around a track for such a longer period of time has lost a bit of its charm as a result. :)

But I get it. For someone who usually is quite laidback when it comes to speed and pushing herself during regular workouts, I am surprisingly 'serious' and 'dedicated' when told to go workout at the track. As you can see from the results above, I will run the pace when assigned. :)

I am actually a little disappointed in my second workout, the one that I ran a full 1:02 minute faster than planned. I could not stop myself from running faster, I tried to control my legs, but I kept seeing 6:10 or 6:18 as my pace. If I were training for a shorter distance, this would be too 'slow', but I know that I can't keep this pace up for a half marathon ... at this time. I need to feel comfortable at a slightly slower pace if I am going to maintain this for a full 21 km+ distance. I don't want to be the runner who looks back at her half marathon with a "fantastic 12 km" in the middle before struggling with a run/walk pace at the end after burning herself out.

I ran most of these workouts in drizzle. It rained during my last few laps around the track in my last workout so that made me feel badass. :)

And hey! NO CALF PROBLEMS !! :) It felt a little tight, but it didn't tighten more while running. A good sign. :)


There are quite a few new classes offered at the gym now that it is September. I plan to take advantage of them after my half marathon. :) I went to Kundalini yoga on Wednesday and again tonight (Friday). We are working on the immune system, and it's just what I need because this means working the shoulders/shoulder blade area. This part of my body has been quite tight lately, but the yoga this week alleviated this clenched area substantially. :)


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART II: What Kind of Food Should I Eat?
(Mostly plants.)

RULE #28 - If you have the space, buy a freezer.

When you find a good source of pastured meat, you'll want to buy it in quantity. Buying meat in bulk - a quarter of a steer, say, or a whole hog - is one way to eat well on a budget. Dedicated freezers are surprisingly inexpensive to buy and to operate, because they aren't opened nearly as often as the one in your refrigerator. A freezer will also enable you to put up food from the farmers' market, and encourage you to buy produce in bulk at the height of its season, when it will be most abundant - and therefore cheapest. And freezing does not significantly diminish the nutritional value of produce.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Week 1317 HM Training - Run #2 TRACK WORKOUT

1 mile (1.6K) warm-up; 6 X 1 mile @10:31; 1 mile cool-down

1.5K warm-up; #1 @10:16; #2 @10:30; #3 @10:29; #4 @10:35; #5 @ 10:27; #6 cancelled; 2K walk/run cool-down

I am so far behind on my blog, I am jumping in with the most recent work-out, and working my way back. :(

I felt tired, cranky and bloated before my workout. My warm-up did not feel good. :( However, my running improved as the mileage increased. I went too fast with my first workout; it sufficiently tired me out so that by the end of #5, I didn't have the heart or desire to run a final 6th. :(

I know I can do it; I just couldn't do it today. :)

I warmed my left leg muscle with a warmed up bean bag again before my workout; this helped. I could still feel the tightness inside the muscle while I ran, which I find distracting because I am now so paranoid about it seizing up again. :(

I also admit to having a little too much on my mind right now and functioning on less sleep than I need so just getting this done and doing what I could is good enough for me today! :)

I have Kundalini yoga tonight. I am taking tomorrow as a rest day (no easy 5K) and I have another track workout scheduled for Friday.

Happy running, all! :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Week 13/17 HM Training - Run #1 11.5K

My fastest training run at this distance to date. :) And it started out as one of those typical runs that doesn't feel great at the start, but then turns into something very good. :)

William Wallace and Angus joined me and they were extremely happy to be running again! They get excited every time they see me change into running clothes; they have figured out my routine (smart, smart pooches!).

I googled images for the word, fresh, hence the pics of a lemon and of a clear drop on a bright, green leaf. After last week's dramatic drop in mileage in an effort to heal my muscle cramp, I am bidding 'adios' to my dismal Week #12 of training, and starting training FRESH with Week #13.

I headed to Springbank Park for my run and was surprised to find that a lot of the paths have been repaved during the last week. It was sweet to have newly paved paths to run on, and kudos to the workmen - they accomplished a lot in the time after my half marathon and my run today. :) I guess it wasn't a bad week for decreased mileage after all because I missed all the construction work.

My leg was fine. I tried something different before heading out - I heated a bean bag and applied the heat directly to the cramp in an effort to release the clenched feeling. I spent last week it, but I wonder now in hindsight if this default method was wrong for me to be using. I am quite confident I do not have a tear; it does not hurt. The muscle is just very, very tight. I could still feel the tightness as I ran, and I was paranoid about it clenching up again (!), but the run still went well. :)

And my run included my nemesis hill, too, which I now can run up without stopping all the time now. :)

We'll have to play it by ear. I have a track workout again tomorrow, and the added speed may be a test as to how well the calf is doing.

Monday, September 19, 2011


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART II: What Kind of Food Should I Eat?
(Mostly plants.)

RULE #27 - Eat animals that have themselves eaten well.

The diet of the animals that we eat strongly influences the nutritional quality, and healthfulness, of the food we get from them, whether it is meat or milk or eggs. This should be self-evident, yet it is a truth routinely overlooked by the industrial food chain in its quest to produce vast quantities of cheap animal protein. That quest has changed the diet of most of our food animals in ways that often damaged their health and healthfulness. We feed animals a high-energy diet of grain to make them grow quickly, even in the case of ruminants that evolved to eat grass. But even food animals that can tolerate grain are much healthier when they have access to green plants - and so, it turns out, are their meat and eggs. The food from these animals will contain much healthier types of fat (more omega-3s, less omega-6s) as well as appreciably higher levels of vitamins and antioxidants. (For the same reason, meat from wild animals is particularly nutritious: see Rule #31 (Blogger Note: scheduled for posting on October 3rd)). It's worth looking for pastured animal foods in the market - and paying the premium prices they typically command if you can.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Week 12/17 HM Training - Mileage Total

M = rest day
T = cancelled 11.5K for recovery day (muscle cramp)
W = cancelled track workout for recovery day (muscle cramp)
Th = 5K (instead of yet another rest day)
F = postponed track workout for a recovery day (muscle cramp)
S = track workout 8.1K
Sun = cancelled 16 km LSD

TOTAL = 14.4 km

My lowest mileage week since February of this year. :( Such a bummer after PRing in my half marathon!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Week 12/17 HM Training - Run #2 TRACK WORKOUT

1 mile warm-up; 2 X 2 miles @21:22; 1 mile cooldown

1.6K warm-up; #1 @21:13 (pace 6:36/km); #2 @21:37 (pace 6:37/km); 3.5 km walk cool-down

Today was a big test for my leg.

Wallace and I walked to downtown London for 1.8 km before starting our 1.6 km jogging warm-up (I measured the distance ahead of time, using It was a little odd to be running with him through the busiest section of the city, but it was fun, too. :) I had decided to switch Catholic high schools for this weekend workout so we were heading to Catholic Central High School for a change since it is the closest high school to me within walking/running range (Western is just minutes away, but I would have to pay $80 a month to use their track. :( My sister uses Trent University's track for free - no fair!).

There's a difference between CCH's track and St. Thomas Aquinas's track (where I usually go). CCH's is much older and has little green space around it. There is also a very tall chain-link fence that surrounds it so I felt like I was in a prison fenced-in area - LOL! With people walking on the sidewalks on the other side of the fence and gawking, it was a little strange.

My first workout went very well. As usual, I started out too fast and had to keep checking the Garmin to rein myself in until I hit my goal stride, which became easier to maintain once I leveled off.

I encountered several issue during my second workout. Wallace started dragging behind me. He has never done that so I wasn't sure what was wrong. I stopped my watch, tied him to the benches, and continued my workout. It wasn't long before I felt a twinge in my calf, similar to what I felt during the half marathon. I suddenly felt the tightening in my calf and I immediately changed my cadence and slowed down. This did the trick, although it made me ultra-paranoid while running. :( I was concentrating on this when Wallace started baying. It caught me off guard because my little pooch never taps into his beagle heritage to bay. Aroooooooooooooooooh! He sounded so sad and despondent. He really did not like being left behind while I continued to run around the track. I stopped again, retrieved him, and then finished my workout. This time, Wallace did not drag behind me. :)

I chose to walk home the entire way because of the tightening on my leg. I gently stretched it when I arrived home. I also researched the injury more online and realized that maybe utilizing RICE all week had not been the smartest idea; a cramp needs heat. I am confident this is not a tear or an injury; I can literally feel the tightening, which creates the discomfort. I just need to keep working it slowly and gently, with heat, light stretching, and rest.

Friday, September 16, 2011


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART II: What Kind of Food Should I Eat?
(Mostly plants.)

RULE #26 - Drink the spinach water.

Another bit of traditional wisdom with good science behind it: The water in which vegetables are cooked is rich in vitamins and other healthful plant chemicals. Save it for soup or add it to sauces.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Week 12/17 HM Training - Run #1 6.5K

It felt very good to get back at it again today. :)

I gave my leg three days off from running. I was also very tired on Monday and Tuesday after the half marathon so I wasn't exactly itching to run. I have been icing my calf and I feel improvement (less tightening), but I am feeling a little concerned that this hasn't completely dissipated by this point.

Angus, Wallace and I headed out for 4 miles/6.5 km. I was scheduled to do 11.5 km on Tuesday, and my first speed workout yesterday, but because there is still such tightness in my calf, I decided to forgo the speed workout, but to make up for the first initial run by lowering the mileage to see how I do first.

It was a wise decision. I felt a little paranoid about my leg while running and paid a great deal to attention to how it was reacting during my run, but I encountered no issues. If anything, this distracted me from paying attention to my speed. Without intending to, I ended up with my fastest 6.5 km training run to date. :) I have always noticed how much faster I run after a race on the weekend. The proof?:

4 km - 6:38/km
5 km - 6:46/km
6 km - 6:37/km

I never run this speedy of a pace during a regular run. :)

I will rest again tomorrow and probably attempt my first speed workout on Saturday.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Half Marathon Training Continues! Race Week and Beyond (Part IV)

Just as you need a race strategy to achieve a PR on race day, you will need a post-race strategy to help you recover after your effort (and maybe prepare you for another race down the line). The duration of your recovery depends on race distance. Use the following as a guide:

5K: Jog 1-2 miles after your race, and follow with some light stretching. Have a recovery snack, and follow with a post-race recovery meal within two hours. Take the following day off. Jog easy (with days off) for the next week.

If you want to race for another 5K PR, pick one week from your Track Work phase and repeat the workouts. Then follow a Race Week schedule to prepare you to race again.

This cycle can be repeated three more times before you will need to go back to Road Work.

10K: Jog 1-2 miles after your race., and follow with some light stretching. Have a recovery snack, and follow with a post-race recovery meal within two hours. Take the following day off. Jog easy (with days off) for the next week.

If you want to race another 10K PR, pick two weeks from your Track Work phase and repeat the workouts. Then follow a Race Week schedule to prepare you to race again.

This cycle can be repeated two more times before you will need to go back to Road Work.

Half Marathon: Walk half a mile to recover after your race (do not stretch). Have a recovery snack and follow with a post-race recovery meal within two hours. Take the next three days off, taking care to eat well and drink plenty of fluids. Jog easy to finish off the week. Then jog easy the following week.

If you want to race for another half marathon PR, the first thing you need to do is find another half marathon to race. If there is one available, count back from race days and plug in those weeks from your training schedule. For instance, if there is another half marathon in four weeks, count back four weeks in your training schedule (including Race Week), and begin to train again.

This cycle can only be used this one time before you will need to go back to Road Work.


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART II: What Kind of Food Should I Eat?
(Mostly plants.)

RULE #25 - Eat your colours.

The idea that a healthy plate of food will feature several different colours is a good example of an old wives' tale about food that turns out to be good science, too. The colours of many vegetables reflect the different antioxidant phytochemicals they contain - anthocyanins, polyphenols, flavonoids, carotenoids. Many of these chemicals help protect against chronic diseases, but each in a slightly different way, so the best protection comes from a diet containing as many different phytochemicals as possible.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

40 DAYS FROM NOW .....

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Race Taper Week HM Training - Mileage Total

M = rest day
T = 10.01 km
W = 8 km
Th = rest day
F = rest day
S = 5.11 km
Sun = Springbank Road Races (Half Marathon) - 21.25K

TOTAL = 44.4 km

Less than 1 km difference from last week's mileage - huh! Interesting! :)

Half Marathon Training Continues! Race Week and Beyond (Part III)

"How to Run a Personal Record: Cover the Ground in Front of You Faster Than Ever Before," by Dave Kuehls, p. 145-152.


When the gun goes off, it is all about you. Fortunately, by this time, you will have two things going for you that race novices do not; a familiarity with the race distance and with the race pace.

These two things should give you a good shot at your PR. But if you want to increase the odds substantially, you need to keep a few general racing rules in mind, and also come up with a workable race strategy - one you have thought out in the weeks leading up to the race - that you can employ during the race. Here's what you need to know:


When the gun goes off, everyone's first impulse is to take off much faster than race pace. Call it nerves. Call it excitement. It is probably a little of both. Yet you must tame this impulse or risk losing precious energy at a point in the race that is essentially meaningless (who cares how fast you run the first 800 metres of your 5K or 2 miles of your half marathon?).

A good way to help stay controlled at the start line is to line up back in the pack a bit (but not too far back) rather than at the front lines. The congestion in front of you will force you to go out under control so you will have to work up to your race pace (which will empower you), rather than bolt out and then have to slow down to find race pace (which leaves you feeling tentative and out of sorts).

In the same vein, you want to finish the race strongly, but with a controlled strength. Finishing strong does not mean sprinting wildly for the last 100 metres, as so many runners do at races. This is a simple waste of energy, since a sprint over that distance can only earn you a few seconds off your finishing time (and besides, a sprint like that is usually guilt driven, following a huge drop off in pace). Instead, take that same energy - you know it's there - and use it to fuel race pace over the final 800 metres of a 5K or the final 2 miles of a half marathon, and you have a much more efficient use of that energy. And a finishing time that's more likely to be a PR.


Try thinking of a marathon, or even a 5K, in its entirety, and the task gets a little overwhelming. ("I have to run 26.2 miles! Do you know how far that is from my house?" "I have to run 3 consecutive miles in 9 minutes per mile! Just one of those miles puts me in pain!") If you think of your race as a whole, you will lose sleep, have a hard time training, and fail utterly in your quest for a PR.

Instead, what you need to do is what you did with the training process - divide it into segments. This is a general concept, a way of thinking about the race, not necessarily a way you will attack the race come race day (that would be your race strategy). For instance, a 5K race can be divided into three 1-mile segments,. Your 10K can be handled as two 3-milers; your half marathon as two 6-1/2-miles runs; and your marathon as two half marathons or two 10-milers and a 10K.

These divisions are better than thinking about the race as a whole. But if you are smart, you will think about your race in segments that correspond to the overall effort involved in covering the distance. They are as follows:
  • 5K - the first two miles, then the last mile.
  • 10K - the first four miles, then the last two miles.
  • Half Marathon - the first 10 miles, then the last three miles.
  • Marathon - the first 6 miles, then the middle 14 miles, then the last 6 miles.

What should be your race strategy? That depends on the type of training you have done and how you feel coming into race day. If you have followed a training schedule in this book and taken care to rest and recover as race day approached, you should be ready to run these strategies for these races:
  • 5K - even pace - at PR pace - for 3.1 miles. This is the most efficient use of your energy for a 5K.
  • 10K - even pace - at PR pace - for 6.2 miles. This is the most efficient use of your energy for a 10K.
  • Half Marathon - even pace - at PR pace - for 13.1 miles. This is the most efficient use of your energy for a half marathon.
  • Marathon - The marathon is different from the other three race distances since an even-paced race will not work for your PR time goals. That's because every recreational marathoner slows down over the last 6 or 8 miles. It's inevitable. Therefore, for your race strategy, you need to build up a "time cushion" before you hit this point. You do this by averaging a pace faster than a break-even pace. (The marathon training programs in this book have you training at a pace that is 10 seconds per mile faster than even pace for your PR). Then, when you get to the inevitable slowdown over the last 6 or 8 miles, your strategy should be to hold on, keeping a slower, but still consistent, pace. This will be tough (you are running the miles that make the marathon infamous here). But if you don't panic at your slowing mile splits, and keep in mind that you have built up a substantial time cushion, you should be strong enough to hold on over the final miles and get to the finish line under your PR goal).

Because distance running is hard work and it hurts, at certain points during your race you will be struck with a lack of energy and confidence. These moments are called "bad patches," and they need to be dealt with as soon as possible or they can linger, and cause a massive slowdown in pace. What should you do when you encounter a bad patch? First of all, try to keep running at your designated pace. Then work through some relaxation motions - like shaking your arms out, keeping your thumbs loose - while you remind yourself of all the hard work you have done in training and the fact that you are on pace to PR.

If that doesn't work, don't slow down. Instead, speed up. Try a gradual increase in pace for 100 yards or so, then come back to race pace. You should be more comfortable when you get back on race pace, and your bad patch will simply be a bad memory.


Different from a bad patch, the "middle miles malaise" is a loss of focus during these crucial miles of your race (most often it strikes just after you have reached the halfway point). If left unchecked, it can slow down your race pace so that a PR is out of the question.

If you feel the middle miles malaise coming on, concentrate on your strike cadence and remind yourself of all the hard work you have put into training. Then, when you reach the next mile marker, note your time, and make it your only goal to run the next mile on pace. Do the same for the next mile. And the next. Until you have kicked the middle miles malaise out of your system.


For fluids and fuel, the key is to eat and drink during training so you are comfortable with them in the race. First off, that means figuring out what kinds of fluids and fuel will be available at your race. You can do this by calling ahead and speaking to race organizers, or check the race website. Once you know what type of energy drink, for instance, that will be offered during your race, you can stockpile at home, and get used to drinking it during your training runs. A good time to do this is during your Saturday morning long runs, the runs that most closely resemble the race at hand.

Fuel can be handled in the same way. Find out what - if any - fuel will be available during your marathon (for example, Gu), stockpile it at home, then get used to it during your Saturday morning long runs.

You also have another option with fuel: You can bring your own - and this might be your only option during a half marathon. If you are particularly comfortable with one type of gel, for instance, you might consider taking them along for the run by pinning them to your shorts or the bottom of your singlet.

In general, here are your fluid and fuel priorities depending on race distance:
  • 5K - no need for fluids or fuel
  • 10K - no need for fluids or fuel (if it is a warm day, a cup of water halfway can invigorate you).
  • Half Marathon - Fluids should be taken. Fuel can be used if you will be out on the course for more than 2 hours. For instance, pop a gel as you approach 10 miles and have only a 5K to go.
  • Marathon - Fluids and fuel need to be taken . In general, fluid stations come along every 2 to 3 miles, offering water and energy replacement drink. Figure out during your long runs which kind of drink you will be taking and when. Similarly, figure out what type of fuel you will be taking and when, making sure to save fuel for the final 6 miles, when you will need it the most.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Race Prediction - Springbank Road Races (Half Marathon)

One of my wordiest race prediction posts yet! :)

This is one of those times when I am extremely grateful for having a blog diary recording my training, my ups and downs, my races, etc. Re-reading this post from last year's 5K and re-reading my post from from my spring Run for the Retina 10K has helped me mentally prepare for tomorrow.

My Learning from last year's 5K:

I was not physically able to run a half marathon "well" by this point, but I recall how grateful I was about choosing a larger venue for running my only half marathon of the season. I had already taken several 'ego hits' throughout the summer so I wasn't keen on yet again being all alone at the end of the pack; I needed positive reinforcement, not yet another reminder about the lack of speed in my stride. :( My perception at the time, as I walked home on the opposite side of the path as all the slow'er' half marathoners ran in, was noticing how much mental perseverance was needed because there weren't cheering crowds or spectators, the path was open to the public (which meant the HM racers weren't given priority/a guaranteed clear path at all; if a racer had a slow group of walkers ahead, that runner had to adjust - the walkers had an equal right using the path as the racer), and there was the smaller race factor ... slow'er' runners stood out more and didn't have as large of a pack to run with like the faster runners. :(

But that's okay because this year I'm ready for it. :) I am heading into this run knowing that I am in it alone, and that it probably will be much more of a mental race than a physical one. It also helps that I have been thinking of this half marathon all along as a "training HM" for my Niagara Falls HM (which I am very cautious about saying out loud because I truly don't want to offend anyone who running this HM for a PR or as goal race). A tell-tale sign that I have not 'played up' this HM was Ben's surprise last Saturday when he realized that I was running a half marathon this weekend instead of the 5K. He's feeling a little guilty because he has annual plans for heading north for part of the weekend; therefore, I had to reassure him that this was okay, that I well aware of this scheduling conflict all along (hence my downplaying about it to him). If it really was of huge importance to me (like Niagara Falls or my 5K PR race), he would have known about it much, much earlier than this. :)

But as it turns out, he will be there. He's cancelled his plans and will be there for me so I really shouldn't write that I am in it alone. Jacquie is running in the 5 km and plans to meet me by the dam so she can run up the last hill in the last km to give me last minute encouragement. This support will go a long way. :)

My Learning from this spring's Run for Retina 10K

I intentionally wrote a more positive post than what I was truly feeling - LOL! I really did not enjoy that race at all; it was a huge disappointment to me (the awesome jacket made up for it somewhat). :) I kept mulling over what was so different about this race than all my others when I finally realized that it was the only time when I didn't feel a racing adrenaline; the rapid heart beating and the excited rush that I get every time I am in a race. I came to the conclusion later that perhaps running this race on the exact same paths that I used all the time actually worked 'against' me because it felt like an ordinary run rather than a race, ergo why I couldn't get 'into' it. Although it's nice to know ahead of time what to expect (what I am truly enjoying about running in most of my races a second time this past summer), I am speculating that there is something about the 'newness' of a race that feeds the adrenaline rush as well. We'll see. But in the meantime, I am factoring this into my prediction. The same thing might happen again; there won't be a PR by a large margin if this race ends up feeling like just another training run similar to this 10K race.

(However, looking back through my blog, I didn't taper at all that week; I kept up my training schedule for my sub-30 goal race. Therefore, I need to factor in my "too high expectations under the circumstances" for that race as well.

So where does this leave me?


To finish the race, and to run it without injury.


I originally established a goal for this race of 2:25:00. This means a pace of 6:52/km (11:04/mile). I am going to do my best to stick with this, even though recent runs give me confidence that I can do better. Here's why:

Reason One: This time will give me a new PR over my NFIM HM time by 12 minutes. I personally consider this is an excellent, realistic chunk of time to shave off a previous HM PR, and that is all that matters ... what I think!

Reason Two: I want to be able to run this from beginning to end without walking (this excludes any brief walking through a water station if I need to rehydrate). The weather is looking cool and even a little rainy so this makes it easier for to achieve this goal without having heat and humidity to contend with.

Reason Three: My goal is try to run this from beginning to end consistently. There are three options I have mulled over:
  • No negative splits; no positive splits - even, concise, I-am-in-total-control splits (6:50/km)
  • Breaking the race into 3-even segments: Run the first 7 km at a slower pace (6:55/km); run the second 7 km at a slighter faster pace (6:50); run the final 7 km+ stretch at an even faster pace than the second (6:45/km). This means a time of 2:23:30, before factoring in additional time for a few sluggish kms which may occur along the way, especially after some of the inclines near the end.
  • Break the race into 2-segments: the first 10 miles (16 km) @6:50/km and then last 3 miles (5 km+) @6:45/km. This means a time of 2:23:39, before factoring in a few sluggish kms.
These are my options. As most people who race know all too well, it's great to have a plan with the best of intentions, but you just don't know what it is going to be like until you are actually in it doing it. It can be a very bad, "off" day. It can be the greatest of all days. It is somewhat of a crapshoot and there are mental games to work through before reaching the end. I am ready with realistic options that I can use to occupy my mind as I react to how my body's performance.

Reason Four: I made the same error at my half marathon in Niagara Falls last year as I did at my Bayfield 5K PR race earlier in June; I started out much faster than I intended, but because I was feeling so fresh, rested, and strong, I deceived myself into thinking that the faster-than-planned pace was good, that it meant that I was 'actually' capable of running the whole event at this faster speed ... before paying for it dearly near the end and by having a very tough finish. :(

Well, I am not going to do this again tomorrow! I would rather run this race at a slower pace throughout and then, if still feeling energetic at certain key, established points, opt to run at a faster pace. This will be of greater assistance to me when planning for Niagara Falls. I do not want to struggle to get to the finish. I have experienced enough races to know that I would rather finish a race strong and feeling great about how I ran it throughout, as I did about my Forest City 10K in the spring, than to PR in a race that makes me feel out of control and completely like shit at the end (my Bayfield 5K).

But the most important thing about this race is to make me feel more confident about my pending NFIM half marathon five weeks from now. I start Track Workouts later this week, and my original goal pace is 6:30/km. The race tomorrow will let me know if I am on track for this or not.


Truth be told, there are two people I would like to beat across the finish line. They don't know me, but I know them. I have done a great job of subverting my 'Type A' personality for a number of years, but this doesn't mean the competitive streak doesn't rear its head every once in awhile. :) :)

I'll do my best to get some sort of race report done for tomorrow evening, but it all depends on how pooped I am. :)

Race Week Taper - Run #3 5K

Done and done. :) My last run before my first half marathon of the fall season. :)

William Wallace and I kept this run slow and relaxed, which was easy; I find that I am initially a little sluggish after a few days of rest so the first 3 km were spent just getting my legs re-familiarized with running again after a two day break.

Nothing too strenuous today. I am keeping the day light and easy. My list is growing for things that will need to get done tomorrow afternoon ... ha! As if half that list is going to get done after I race in the morning - another ha! :)

My race prediction is already written and will be auto-posted this evening. My post tomorrow morning is ready, too; it's the third part from my training program on what to do during the Race Week Taper, only this describes what to do throughout the race itself.

My playlist is ready with all my favourite upbeat music. There is no "one minute" lullaby song in between "ten minutes" of music to denote a time to walk like there was last year when I was in the Niagara Falls half marathon. :) It's all running from start to finish this time, baby! :)

Ben told me yesterday that he will be coming to this half marathon to cheer me on after all. He originally had plans (faithful, annual plans, actually) so his decision to cancel came as a huge surprise to me. It also means a great deal to me to know he will be there. :)

I went to Kundalini yoga last night. The stretching for the shoulders and shoulder blades as well as the spine was greatly needed and appreciated. I will be doing this on my own this evening.

I walked with Wallace to my running store downtown for the HM race kit and walked home again. I also walked home from yoga. 7.7 km total. No running. :)

Approximately 280 people are registered for the half marathon (as of this afternoon). It's the smallest turnout of the three half marathons in London.

Happy weekend running. :)

Half Marathon Training Continues! Race Week and Beyond (Part II)

"How to Run a Personal Record: Cover the Ground in Front of You Faster Than Ever Before," by Dave Kuehls, p. 143-4.

2. Friday to Saturday Morning: The 24-Hour Countdown

Just like the week before your race is a crucial time to make or break your PR, so is the final 24 hours before the gun - but even more so. During this time any mistake (the wrong food, a brisk run) will be magnified because you have only a few hours to recover from those mistakes.

Therefore, here's a 24-hour countdown to race time that you can follow to keep on the straight and narrow:

24 HOURS OUT: Jog easy for a few miles during the time you will be racing tomorrow.

23 HOURS OUT: Eat a healthy and light breakfast.

22 HOURS OUT: Spend a good chunk of the morning reading the newspaper or a novel.

19 HOURS OUT: Have a carbohydrate-rich lunch. For many, it is better to get your carbs at lunch than during the evening. This lessens the chance of waking up bloated on race morning.

18 HOURS OUT: Nap time.

16 HOURS OUT: Arrange your race gear for tomorrow. Lay out your shorts, shirt, socks. shoes race bib, pins, chip, hat, and anything else you might be wearing for your race.

14 HOURS OUT: Have a healthy and light dinner.

12 HOURS OUT: Watch TV or a DVD. Caution: an action movie or thriller might not be a good bet at this time since it can hype you up and keep you from getting to sleep.

10 HOURS OUT: It might be fitful since you have so much on the line in the morning. but stay in bed and relax. (Also, the previous night's sleep is often designated as your real sleep night before your race. By why focus on just one night? Aim to get a good night's sleep each night during Race Week.)

3 HOURS OUT: Wake. Shower. Breakfast, if needed.

1 HOUR OUT: Arrive at the race. Warm up with light jogging, some stretching and a few striders.

15 MINUTES OUT: Find a spot behind the starting line. Put your watch in stopwatch mode.

10 MINUTES OUT: Go over race strategy.

1 MINUTE OUT: Take deep breaths and shake out your arms.


Friday, September 9, 2011


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART II: What Kind of Food Should I Eat?
(Mostly plants.)

RULE #24 - "Eating what stands on one leg [mushrooms and plant foods] is better than eating what stands on two legs [fowl], which is better than eating what stands on four legs [cows, pigs, and other mammals]."

This Chinese proverb offers a good summary of traditional wisdom regarding the relative healthfulness of different kinds of food, though it inexplicably leaves out the very healthful and entirely legless fish.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Reasons iRace

I have under my blogroll a link to iRace. I like this site, and in particular, I like The Shuffler. Last week, she posted a number of reasons for participating in races, and I thought it was timely given that my upcoming half marathon this weekend will be Race #36. There are other people like me who enjoy running all distances and multiple races, there are others who choose one or two races for a specific distance, there are destination runners (cool!), and there are runners who don't race at all. I think she explains nicely the appeal for "weekend warriors" :) hence why I have posted the link above for anyone who's interested.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Race Week Taper - Run #2 8K

Yesterday's post had a photo of a passive bear on its back; today's has this passive frog on its back. These are the images I found when I googled the word, "relaxed." :)

Today was my last run until Saturday's warm-up 5K. I am expecting that run to be rather slow and sluggish after two days of rest.

I had another wonderful run this morning. I should write write "ditto!" to yesterday's post. I ran the same path, the same direction, with the same running beasts. :) I listened to the same playlist, saw some of the same runners, and waved/smiled to the same school crossing guard.

I didn't run as far; I turned back by the university's eastside residences, and ran through some of the student ghetto to get my mileage done. I ran faster than yesterday unintentionally; my pace during the last 3 km was unusually faster than my recent norm. :) I also was caught in some heavy rain. It was drizzling when I headed out, then turned into a mist for most of my run (lovely), but then it came down heavily the rest of the time.

But I didn't care. :) I could breath easily, I felt strong while running again, and the two runs over the course of the last two days have done my ego/confidence a world of good. :) It's been a very good tapering week so far. I am also embracing the next two days of scheduled rest, too!

On a side note, I have slept well (straight through) for the last two nights. This has really helped and I hope Wed/Thu/Fri nights will be the same. If I do end up tossing and turning the night before my HM, I will still have a week's worth of rest behind me. :)

I have pre-written posts ready to be published on the blog for the days without workout updates ... Little Miss Organized me. :)

I also have Kundalini yoga this evening (I really need it for my shoulder blades/back).

Happy running, everyone! :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Race Week Taper - Run #1 10K

How cool is it that a 10K run now feels 'easy' when just two years ago, it was a distance I struggling to work up to as an LSD? :)

After a rest day yesterday, I hit the path with Angus and Wallace for a slow, relaxed run out toward the university and back. It was quieter on the path, more so than usual, and the weather was amazing for it. I actually put on a long sleeved tech shirt with shorts, because it was that much colder this morning. My hairy legs were an advantage by keeping my legs warmer. :) Two days ago the air conditioning was cranked; today, we are closing some windows because the breeze is just a little too cool!

But hey, I am NOT complaining! The conditions were terrific for a run, and it went extremely well for me. It felt fluid, strong and light the entire time (not words I use often to describe a run), and my pace, although consistent, slowly became stronger as the kilometres accumulated, which felt very cool. I was not tired or winded at all by the time I ended my run. A very, very cool feeling! :)

My secret weapon was back with a vengeance today. The fall weather is clearly Angus's forte because his running was strong and fast today. It's been a long time since I have seen my dog's body more in front of me rather than behind; it was great to see how he pushed the pace and ran up inclines with strength today. Wallace ran well, just as he always runs, so my running group was in fine form today. :)

8K tomorrow morning before I take two days off. Sweet! :)

Half Marathon Training Continues! Race Week and Beyond

"How to Run a Personal Record: Cover the Ground in Frobnt of You Faster Than Ever Before," by Dave Kuehls, p. 139.

(Blogger's Note: I have completed Phases I & II of the training. Next week, I start Phase III: Track Work. I decided to jump ahead and post the race tapering information from my training program because this is what I am following this week).

Race Week and Beyond

Race week is when you make your final physical and mental preparations for the race. It is also, of course, when your race occurs. And it is the beginning of your recovery from that race.

That's a lot to pack into a fragile seven days. I say fragile because at the end of sixteen weeks of smart and intense training, your race is like a piece of finished sculpture. (Now all you have to do is transport it from one building to another, without breaking it, so it can go on display).

To better get a handle on all the challenges associated with Race Week, I have broken it down into four segments; Monday through Thursday ; the 24-hour period directly preceding the starting gun; the race itself; and the post-race period.

Let's take them one at a time.

1. Monday to Thursday: Caution

These are the days when you can take all the gains you have earned during those sixteen weeks of training , crumple them up into a ball, and throw them out the window.

I have seen runners who didn't know any better (and runners who should have known better) completely ruin their chances at PRs just a couple of days before the race).

And how did they do it? They went for runs on Tuesday or Wednesday of that week - and those runs turned into races. The runs were invigorating, exciting and they ran well (they were in great shape). But, then, when they shoed up for their race Saturday morning, they found that their midweek"races" had taken more out of them than they realized. And soon after the gun this fact dawned on them with cold certainty. They had blown it.

To make sure you don't blow it, here is a cautionary discussion of some of the misconceptions that tend to creep up during Race Week:


During Race Week, all runs should be easy except where noted in the training schedules. A Tuesday light track workout at race pace, for instance, is a good way to get the legs moving during Race Week. (But it is a light workout and over with soon). The danger here is to doubt your training, think you are not fit, and try to squeeze one or more hard workouts into the limited time remaining. This could be a heavy track workout or, if you are training for a half marathon or marathon, one more long run six or seven days out.

This is foolish for two reasons: The first reason is that you will not have time to recover and so the workout will leave you fatigued on race day. The second is that any hard training takes a while to take effect - you need to recover and grow stronger to see the benefits - and a hard workout during Race Week will not even have enough time to "sink in."

Therefore, any hard training you do during Race Week should be thought of in this manner: You are tiring yourself out for nothing.


You need to fuel yourself for you race, but as the race draws near the exact opposite impulse often strikes runners. They see a drop in mileage during the last week (or, for marathoners, during the last two weeks) as a reason to cut calories. They skimp on breakfast, nibble on lunch, and then skip dinner altogether. Because they are not running as much, they feel fat, and the only way to combat this feeling is to put less food in their mouths - which, of course, leads directly to a race where running PRs is simply out of the question, because they have not properly fueled themselves for their races.

During Race Week the lesson is simple: You need to eat. For starters, food keeps energy levels high (this, in turn, combats pre-race anxiety). It also stores fuel (needed to get you to the finish line). And it aids in recovery (your body is repairing damaged muscle tissue from sixteen weeks of training). All three are critical for PR race success.

The easiest way, then, to ensure that you are getting enough food during Race Week is to continue eating three meals a day. Your body should be conditioned to eat (and be hungry) at these times, so keep up the daily routine. Pay special attention to eating dinner, especially if you run during the late afternoon as cutting back (and cutting out) on a run at that time will lessen the usual pre-dinnertime hunger and the motivation to eat.

If any food can be cut during Race Week, it should be the "reward snack," the large cookie that comes on the afternoon of your long run or the bowl of ice cream on the night of a hard track workout. Save that eating for after the race.


Resting is vital because the only way you can be completely ready to run a PR is to be so rested you are bursting at the seams to race but at the same time also at your highest level of fitness. This is your final "peak" for the race, and it's a tricky thing. Your training program - Road Work, Strength Work, and Track Work - has also been designed, over the course of months, to peak you for your race. So is the fact that in the weeks leading up to your race, you have been cutting back on mileage and the intensity of your workouts. But all that stuff has been the easy part. All you had to do was read a training program and then go out and do the prescribed workout.

The real challenge comes when "rest" starts to appear more frequently in the training program (for instance, most programs have two days of rest in a row during the final week). By the time you get to that point in your training - with the race just around the corner - many runners are either too antsy ("I can't take a day off now, I'll lose fitness") or too excited ("I'm ready to go") to refrain from running.

Yet rest is what you must do at this time if you want to PR. To do so, you need to remember that you won't "lose fitness" by taking days off close to your race. If you have followed the training program, the exact opposite will happen - you will gain fitness as the body takes its final rest before race time to repair itself and grow stronger. (This is the internal magic of peaking). Second, all that energy and enthusiasm is certainly a good thing, but it needs to be harnessed. Think of yourself as a racehorse in a paddock. You need to wait for the race to officially begin before you use that energy for its intended purpose.

Finally, there is a danger even if you do refrain from running during your rest day. The danger is you take that day to do a bunch of things that keep you on your feet, like running errands or cutting the lawn. "Rest day" means no running. But it also means taking it easy, keeping your feet up, and relaxing. So watch this tendency to burn that running energy through a series of non-running activities on your rest day.

Monday, September 5, 2011

FOOD RULES - Review on Rules #6-10

Better late than never? My intentions were good even if my posting doesn't reflect this? :) Because I am not running today (race taper week), I thought I would use this as a post instead. :)

Here is my second update and review on how well I am doing with FOOD RULES #6 - #10:

Excellent rule, yet so darn hard to follow! :( Pollan writes that the number of ingredients you choose is arbitrary, but the point, of course, is that the longer the list of ingredients, usually the more processed the food is. I will say that I am better at it than I was before; this is a rule that has stuck with me. Since I am reading labels all the time now, I notice this, but there is loads of room for improvement.

A variation on another rule. I get it. It's a good one. I'm trying, even though it's not easy. These rules truly restrict choices in all the processed food aisles.

Rule #8 - Avoid food products that make health claims.

I really like this one. It has made me pay much better attention, and I now notice the number of commercials when watching TV that are geared toward telling us how healthy their overly-processed food is. I am finding this rule easier to follow, and I am more cynical (in a good way? :)) about so-called healthy food.

I can say with a lot of pride (now) that I have followed this rule for over ten years now. My sister deserves all the credit. She taught this to me years ago after comparing products and realizing that the "lite" versions had more chemicals, more sugar, and get this, more calories. Have we ever been sold a false load of goods on this one!! It's just terrible!! Even before she taught this to me, I recall visiting a friend who had battled with anorexia, and I was horrified by the contents of her fridge - everything in it was low-calorie, "lite" or "diet." I knew then that there was something very wrong with this (but it didn't stop me from consuming multiple cans of Diet Coke every day at that time - eek!).

Rule #10 - Avoid foods that are pretending to be something they are not.

Amen! He is preaching to the converted. I have always disliked margarine, I have never purchased "Egg Beaters" in my life, I have never used "Equal", and I have never understood why some people who choose to give up meat then consume so many mock-meat products (?). I have made lousy food choices in the past, and I am by no means a living example of healthy eating today, but hey! At least there's another rule I can put a check-mark beside. :) :)