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More than Running

13 Jun

I’ve officially completed my first week of half marathon training. So far so strong.

Rock N Roll Half Marathon

Joanna's First Half Marathon

As I mentioned I signed up for a special 10-week training program with Armando at my gym. (P.S. He has a guest post coming up soon about massage therapy). The training program includes a boot camp class once a week, a personal training session once a week, a 10-week running schedule and a nutrition expert looking at how I’m eating. Given all I have learned about my body this past March (the resting metabolic rate and SubMax tests) I want to be under careful supervision for this race.

What I’m most excited for is fine-tuning my training. In the past I’d created workout plans for myself for races and that worked just fine. I now want to focus on taking racing to the next level to be stronger, faster and more efficient. I’ve set a goal of finishing this race in under two hours, it’s really going to take some diligent training on my part to accomplish that.

Some things that are different this time around are that I’m focusing on strength training, stretching, foam rolling and eating for endurance sports. Yeah I will do the running, but I really think that for me to get faster and stronger I need to incorporate all of these other aspects of training.

The first week’s schedule looked like this:
Monday – Personal Training Session, focus on agility, balance and strength
Tuesday – Rest day
Wednesday – Boot Camp
Thursday – Running Club, 50 minute run
Friday – Strength and stretch, chest and abs
Saturday – 6 mile run
Sunday – Strength, legs

For you runners do you think about strength training and stretching when you’re training for a race? For you non-runners, does this make running races more appealing to hear that stretching and strength training are crucial components to running?

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Hot Chocolate 15K, Done!

9 Nov

I did it! I ran 15 kilometers! And I ran them in 1hr 30 min 23 sec at a pace of 9:42. So not only did I run the longest race of my life I ran the fastest pace of my life. This is what I looked like after running 15K.

Jo with chocolate

Jo with chocolate (photo courtesy of Carolyn Rogowski- Liptak)

Here I am with my friend Carrie, who did her first 5k. She loved racing so much she’s going to do another run this weekend.

Carrie and Jo

Carrie and me (photo courtesy of Carolyn Rogowski- Liptak)

This is a photo she took of the amazing view:

Skyline

Chicago Skyline (photo courtesy of Carolyn Rogowski- Liptak)

It was a great run, I felt completely prepared after two and a half months of training. If you remember I created this training regimen a back in August.  Here’s what I did and didn’t do.

The daily actions I will be taking from now until November 6 are:
• Logging my food intake everyday
Stopped logging food intake late September. I started to feel a bit obsessive about it, so I stopped with the intention of returning to it in October but I never did pick it back up.
• Doing my workouts and logging them everyday
I was 80% effective in logging my workouts and I did most of them. I ran at least twice a week every week and I did plenty of foam rolling and stretching. I was also consistent with weight training 2-3 times per week.
• Getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night
I stopped logging this when I stopped logging my food intake, but I did become much more aware of my sleeping patterns and generally have started sleeping more.

• Ask at least one person per day one of two questions:
What are your dreams? What do you like about your life? What are you grateful for?
I started this off pretty consistently, asking my office mates, friends and family these questions but about a month into it I stopped.

In addition to the daily actions I will take some other miscellaneous actions:
• Host a ‘Clean’ dinner party at my home once a month Have not done this, but I do have a dinner scheduled at someone else’s home next month.
• Get a Sub Max test Did not do this, yet.
• Clean two closets Cleaned one closet.
• Paint bedroom walls Did not do this.

The conclusion is that I was too ambitious in declaring that I would take all these new actions and then not effective in scheduling them. Sometimes I would think about all the things I said I would do and it would make me tired and even distract me from my workouts. Next time I will focus on 2-3 actions and if I choose any miscellaneous actions I will pick a date and put them in my calendar right away, even if they’re two or three months out.

As for recovery after the run, my plans for the next week are to eat well, stretch, drink plenty of water and go to at least one yoga class. I’m signing up for a couple other races, I’ll post more about those later in the week.

I know at least a couple of readers who ran this weekend, how was your experience? Are you happy with your time? What’s next for you?

Coldest Running Club

29 Oct

Chicago’s had its first string of cold fall days and yesterday marked the first cold running club. When I signed up for the Hot Chocolate 15k I knew I’d be doing some training in the cold. So far we’ve been very lucky to have a warm October from mid-60s to mid-70s. But not yesterday, it was 45º and windy! A few brave souls came out for the run.

Running Club

Amanda, Me, Eugene

Although it wasn’t freakishly cold yet, I wanted to be sure to be prepared for the run. I did a little research on cold weather running and here is the most valuable information for running in 30º-45º:

• Wear layers so you can take stuff off as you get warm.
• Don’t over-dress, dress for 20º warmer than the actual temperature. It’s OK to be a little chilly when first getting outside.
• Warm up and stretch inside prior to going out for your run.
• Wear running gloves or mittens, and mittens are a better choice on colder days because your fingers will share their body heat.
• Wear a hat.

As you can see in the photo above, we were dressed adequately for the most part.

We ran for 58 minutes last night and I felt good the entire time. I was a little slower than normal, but I never felt cold once I started running. The two things I wished I had were running gloves and a hat. I’ll be researching and shopping for those over the weekend.

Does anyone have suggestions for a good pair of running gloves and hat?

Stick to the Original Plan

14 Oct

Last night I had one of those nights where I had every valid excuse in the world for not working out. First, my legs were sore from Tuesday night’s workout. Our running club run was scheduled for 4.30pm. Then, some things came up at work that had us start later than expected. When I finally got around to changing at 5.30pm I realized I was missing a very important piece of equipment, my sports bra. I could have taken this as a sign, maybe the heaven’s don’t want me to run today my legs hurt, we’re running late and now this. While that may be so, I decided that I was going to be the one that get’s to say when I run and when I don’t.

My running partner, Amanda, and I devised a plan. We made a pit stop at TJ Maxx to buy a sports bra and continued with our running plans. I got my sports bra and bought a new long-sleeve running shirt, threw away the stained, holey t-shirt I was wearing (it was time to retire that thing anyway) and took off for our run along the Chicago lake front.

It was a tough run, I’m not going to lie, my calves and my quads were sore the entire time. Even after a warm up I couldn’t get my muscles to stop hurting. Typically on Wednesdays I work on heart rate training, yesterday it was all about finishing without stopping. We would up running four miles up and around Navy Pier and we got to watch the sunset over the beautiful Chicago skyline.

 

Navy Pier in Chicago, view from Aon Building.

Image via Wikipedia

 

In the end I felt great, not because the run made me feel better but because I took control of what I was going to do. a I did not give in the circumstances of forgetting stuff at home and having sore muscles. (As a side note, I am not injured, I am following a training schedule under the supervision of a personal trainer where muscle soreness is expected. I also have days for rest, recovery and massage. If you are injured or have extreme muscle fatigue please consult a health professional before pushing yourself.)

What made the experience great yesterday was that I chose to stick to my commitment. Exercise in and of itself has many benefits but it is the ability to have a commitment and stick to it that had this experience be so rewarding.

So next time you want to skip a workout just because it seems like things aren’t going smoothly, just stick to it. You will feel better that you did. I have yet to regret choosing gym over no gym.

Safety in Numbers

30 Aug

I’ve completely changed the way I eat over the past two years. Mostly the people at work don’t have the same eating habits as I do and that’s been fine, sometimes I get sad when a big group goes out for Qdoba or pizza. I love being social so in that way clean eating has been at odds with that part of my personality. I’ve learned over the years to bring my own lunches from home so that I don’t get tempted by greasy and salty food. Any time I give in it makes me feel bad (physically) later in the day.

Luckily I now have two office mates, Amanda and Donna, who are also into eating well and fitness. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am about that. You see, my whole life I’ve been kind of a lone soldier. Mostly I workout by myself, I cook by myself, I’ve trained for triathlon by myself, I clean by myself and I am very effective at doing things by myself. But it gets a little lonely doing everything by yourself. (And  I have a boyfriend whom I spend a lot of time with, but I’ve even managed to isolate the two of us from larger groups).

So what are the benefits of doing things in a group. For starters any amount of heads are better than one, in this case we have three. We’ve come up with some wonderful ideas in sustaining our healthy living lifestyles. We’re running the Hot Chocolate 15k together, we started a running club at the office and we created team potluck lunches where everyone  makes something from scratch and brings it in to share.

Last week we had our first running club and our first potluck lunch.

Running Club
This first running club took place last Wednesday and it was just the three of us. We all ran together for 30 minutes along the gorgeous Chicago lakefront. Here’s our first photo:

Running club

Amanda, Donna and Me

I’m going to post a photo of us every week so that everyone can see our progress. We’re since invited some more people in the office and some friends to running club, so I think this week it’s going to be a bigger crowd.

The First Culinary Club Potluck Lunch
There were 10 people that made something for the lunch last Friday. The theme was ‘seasonal.’ We asked everyone to prepare something using a single seasonal fruit or vegetable. Here are some of the highlights:

The table spread

The table spread

Bruschetta and dip

Bruschetta and dip

Berry salsa with cinnamon pita

Berry salsa with cinnamon pita

Spinach salad with chicken and spicy pineapple dressing

Spinach salad with chicken and spicy pineapple dressing

Homemade custard with berries

Homemade custard with berries

Daily Actions, Day 7
• Logging my food intake everyday — done
• Doing my workouts and logging them everyday — done
haven’t logged the runs, starting this week

• Getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night — done, almost every night except for two nights
• Ask at least one person per day one of two questions: –  I did not do this over the weekend, starting again today
What are your dreams? What do you like about your life? What are you grateful for?

In addition to the daily actions I will take some other miscellaneous actions:
(These won’t get a check mark until I do them later in the month, but I’m keeping them here as a reminder)
• Host a ‘Clean’ dinner party at my home once a month — Hosted 1st party Sunday 8.29
• Get a Sub Max test
• Clean two closets
• Paint bedroom walls

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