Category: Running

Humid Hill Drills

Brad is off of running right now. He’s dealing with some serious shin and calf issues and a somewhat solvable (my opinion, ha!) hip issue. Right now his half marathon plans aren’t looking too good but not completely ruled out yet. As for me, unfortunately I have a pesky abdominal strain that first appeared in June. I thought it was all healed up but with increasing my mileage and adding in a bunch of core work it seems to be back. And it’s angry.

Last night I went out for hills. When I was training for my first half marathon last year all I did was focus on the distance. Three days a week I would log kilometers with the longest run being on the weekend. I’m attempting to make this training cycle a little bit more focused. For my two weekday runs I’ve tried to throw in some track work, some new routes and yesterday was my first hill workout. I waited until after dark to get out there because the humidity was insane last night. This was a good idea for training but it meant I missed the finale of Bachelor in Paradise. Le sigh……….

Here’s what I did

  • 1.5 km run to the hill
  • 10 hill repeats
  • 1.5 km walk home
  • Total = 5.4 km

It was tough so I rewarded myself with some pecan pie.

pecan pie

The other issue I’ve been having is tummy troubles on the inside. I’m fairly certain it’s from all the does of Advil I’ve been taking in the last month for numerous dental procedures. To make matters worse, the tummy troubles started on Sunday and I haven’t exactly been taking them seriously. I haven’t changed my diet at all in the last few days even though I know how to make this better. The last two days I’ve had three coffees a day, not exactly the medicine for an upset stomach.

Since I couldn’t sleep last night I decided to make midnight oats to have for breakfast for the rest of the week. I’m trading in my morning yogurt for steel cut oats and walnuts. This morning I’ve traded in my coffee for kombucha and I’m planning on having some peppermint tea soon too.

midnight oats

Although I’m frustrated with my tummy and my abs I have to remember that no training cycle is perfect. My boss was asking me yesterday if I was happy with my training right now. I wanted to say no, as I’m one to focus on what’s not working but I remembered how incredibly challenging last year was. If I can do my first half marathon after a serious back injury, I can certainly deal with these (hopefully) small setbacks.

I’m armed with a bag of better food and drink options at work today and have emailed about seeing my physiotherapist.

In other news, my September bootcamp classes start tonight. The weather may have other ideas but that’s the plan. I’m crossing my fingers that it doesn’t storm before 9pm.

 

 

 

When Commitment Is Both Delightful And Miserable

Allow me to be a broken record – I am at my best when I’m signed up for a race. I need a date, I need to propel my efforts towards something specific. For years, I’ve stayed motivated with spring and summer fitness thanks to my race schedule. This last month was my time to refocus. With the wedding behind me I let running and Netflix occupy my non-working hours. A half marathon doesn’t train for itself am I right?

When I’m not training for anything I’m more than happy to let excuses deter me from working out. Like most of you, I’m busy as hell even without the wedding planning (omg NOT wedding planning is sooooo fun). Here’s a list of my excuses: day time job, personal training job, family commitments, social commitments, and the longest Netflix list of life. Like, really important stuff.

Before August started I scratched out my month’s running schedule. Nothing fancy, I just gets some scrap paper and write down each run as well as the weekly mileage. Once the weekly mileage is added up I adjust to make sure it’s both realistic and safe. Because I teach four bootcamp classes a week, I only run three times a week. In other seasons I’ve attempted four and five runs a week and as much as I wish I could commit to that type of training schedule, it just never seems to happen. With only three runs a week I know that I need to be committed. I can’t blow them off because I’m busy or unmotivated.

Here are the rules of my running schedule:

  • Run #1 must be done before the end of the day on Wednesday
  • Run #2 must be done before the end of the day on Friday
  • Long run (#3) must be done before the end of the day on Sunday

Sometimes my procrastination gets the better of me. For example, two weekends ago I had to come home on Friday and run 5km in the heat before showering and getting down to The Ex for beers and hanging out with friends. (When commitment is miserable). Sometimes, like this past weekend, I’m super smart and I get up and get my long run done before noon so that I can enjoy a long weekend BBQ. (When commitment is delightful).

Labour Day BBQ

For the first time ever, thanks to my Polar V800, I got to log in to Polar Flow and see all of my August training runs. Having some technology in my life is definitely helping my training. So how did I do with my commitment? I missed two runs. Just two and I have a pretty good reason (see how I didn’t use the word excuse there, haha). The last five weeks have been spent dealing with dental pain, finally ending up with a two part root canal procedure.

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August almost felt like a warm up and September is really when I’m going to tune in to training. I’m moving forward with my three runs a week schedule which I think will be easier than August because I’m in the groove now. The next step is getting committed about my strength and range of motion exercises. Wish me luck!

What training commitments are you making for September? 

 

What If I Don’t PR – #SweatBetter

If you recall I made a big huge proclamation of my running goals for this spring. In fact, my first 5k race of the season is ALSO my bridal shower. We’re going to start with a 5k and then move on to the traditional party portion of the shower. With my bridesmaids and friends as witnesses I wanted to show some serious speed with a new 5k PR that day.

The team at Sport Chek loved my goal and asked me what kind of gear would help me with my spring training. All I wanted in the whole wide world was a new Polar watch. Last year I used my Polar heart rate monitor, my Polar Loop, my interval timer and my phone to track all of my running and fitness adventures. When Sport Chek wanted to give me something to #SweatBetter I knew it was time to get something that combined all of my devices.

So stay with me in this story, it’s the end of March … I’ve been bragging about my bridal shower 5k goals, I have a brand new and super fancy watch … and then I get sick. If you’re up to date on my blog it wasn’t a cold, it was inflammation in my lungs that is taking a seriously long time to get over. You can imagine how disappointed I was when the days went by and I was on the sidelines.

In the last few weeks I’ve finally been able to put together some strong weeks of training and running. My spring training is not anything like I had planned, but I’m so delighted to be back. That 5k is coming up fast (May 29th) and even though last month was super rough, I’m still gunning for that PR. Do I think it will happen? Probably not, but I’m still going to run my little brains out. Here’s the most wonderful thing about having used my watch for the last month – looking back at my Polar diary. When I look back at my diary of the last month I can clearly see how each week I got better and better. Each week I ran faster. I ran more kilometres. I worked out harder. I logged more hours of training.

sweat better sport chek

If I don’t PR, then what? Then nothing, right! That’s the beauty of running. We don’t kill it at every race. Sometimes sweating better is about the journey, not the outcome. The great news is that I have this spiffy new tool for the next race, and the race after that. I have barely scratched the surface at everything this watch can do. If you’ve seen me in person in the last month you know that I am IN LOVE with my Polar V800. It’s already changed the way I train for short distances. I cannot wait to use it for long distance training … because who knows what this fall running season will bring. I’m not ready to commit, but I’ve got some ideas 😉

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I am SO SO SO excited to race on May 29th at the Toronto Women’s Run. Let me know if you’re racing soon too (and where).

Disclosure:  This blog post is sponsored by Sport Chek. I received compensation in exchange for my participation in this campaign. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Back To The Track

I’d like to conduct a study to count the number of blog posts that are called “Back on Track” or some variation of that title. And I’m not just talking about my blog posts because I’m sure there are something like 3,042. I have been blogging for almost six years you know. In the whole universe it’s probably like a zillion, right? My long winded point is that for those of us who blog, and who don’t blog (the only two classifications of people that exist in my world), we’re always getting back on track. With something. Back on track with workouts, eating healthy, going to bed early, etc etc etc.

I’ve had this chat with a client recently, there will always be some setback, some hurdle. That’s life (I’m deep eh). So ya, this post is to announce that I am getting back on track … because I went to the track. I am desperately trying to stay positive as I fight my way back from the issue with my lungs. I had a pretty good week this week which indicates that I’m healing.

Here’s a list of things that went SO WELL this week:

  1. I went to book club last Tuesday. It was my first social outing in weeks! (Does anyone have a recommendation for a great book, it’s my turn to pick and I don’t have any books in mind.)
  2. I worked 5 days this week. Call me EXTREMELY grateful that I have a job that comes with a more than fair sick day allotment. It was really nice to be able to put in a full week at work.
  3. I had a cocktail and felt okay afterwards. We went to a tiki bar and I had this really delicious ginger beer cocktail.(I’ve been off caffeine and alcohol all month and I’ll admit I miss wine.)

ANDDDDDDDDD I went to the track! Last year the track became my happy place while I was coming back from my back injury. Even when I couldn’t run I would take Brad to the track and coach him from the sidelines. (He totally loved it, thanks for asking.)

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It was beyond exciting to put my little purple sneakers on and do some laps on Saturday. I got to take my new Polar V800 watch and give it a good spin. There are so many features on this watch and I can’t wait to dig even deeper into how this will help my training. As usual, I employed my run-walk-run method to get out on the track for 20 minutes. There was no goal. I just wanted to go out and do a few intervals until my lungs started to feel it. At 20 minutes in I felt the first bit of tightness in the chest and decided to call it quits. Patience is of course a virtue and I’ll get my distance back soon.

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Other cool things (because apparently I’m back to lifestyle blogging) that happened in the last week include a blogger dinner. WOOHOO! Jen flew to Toronto to run the Goodlife Marathon so Carmy put a dinner together for a bunch of us to hang out the night before the race. Running bloggers are pretty cool people ;).

Also, 1 week to my first race of the year and 2 months until my wedding. The end.

If You Can’t Run, Walk

I can’t run right now … again. It feels like this is a recurring theme in my life in the last year. But that’s kind of they way athletic training can go. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of uncertainties that are happening with my lungs right this second. What I do know, I don’t have pneumonia. I had my chest x-rayed last week and although it came back that I don’t have pneumonia, it did not come back clear.

Obviously I’m working with my doctor to try to get to the bottom of this and to try to heal my lungs. I’ll update y’all when I have an update. This puts a big fat damper in my spring training plans. I don’t know if dampers can be fat, but drama is necessary.

If there’s anything I learned from my HUUUGE (say it like Donald Trump) recovery effort last summer (post back injury) it’s that I will do what I can until I can do more. Over the last few weeks I’ve basically just been working and resting. Sleep is always the most important part of any recovery.

Thanks to some help from a puffer (or is it inhaler?) I’ve been getting a bit better. Yesterday I was able to go out for a long walk. We headed to my favourite trail, the same trail I spent every Saturday on last summer and fall. Walking that trail for the first time this year brought back memories of how awesome my running season turned out last year. It was a reminder that set backs happen, but come backs can be oh so sweet.

walk and jump 1

walk and jump 2

What’s my plan right now?

  • These lung issues may be a virus, so I’m working on rest, vitamin C, and lots of hydration. My doctor told me no alcohol (duhhhhh) and no coffee (wait, WTF?!?!!?)
  • Rest, ya I already said that but sleeping is my number one priority right now.
  • Do what I can, mostly walking for the time being.
  • Set up a strength based training plan. Unfortunately my ribs, abs and back have been in a whole lot of pain from all the coughing. I’m wanting to get them feeling better but also need to work on my core, hip and glute strength for this year’s running season.
  • Finding a treadmill. One of the things that taxes my lungs right now is cold air. I’m hoping as I transition into run-walk intervals that I can do so on a treadmill. I don’t have a gym membership right now and trying to find a place that I can use for a few weeks to a gym is proving tough. Does that exist (at a reasonable price) in Toronto?

PS – 4 weeks until my wedding dress fitting and 11 weeks until my wedding. Things are getting kinda crazy up in here!

21 Weeks Ago I Ran My First 21.1K Race

Twenty one weeks ago I ran my first half marathon. I truthfully can’t believe it’s been that long. Blogging has taken a back seat lately because I’ve had a ton happening in my life. It was a lot of personal stuff and a lot of non running or non fitness stuff. In the weeks since running my half marathon I’ve had two new jobs, two deaths in the family, got the flu super bad, and a had big flare up of my back injury. Plus, the clock is ticking down to my wedding this summer. As you can imagine, LIFE HAS BEEN CRAZY!

But HELLLOOO MARCH. Hello warmer temperatures. Hello daylight. Finally, this month, I’ve started to refocus on my own fitness. As a personal trainer I’m always thinking about workouts, but sometimes my own goals get thrown to the side. Three weeks ago I grabbed an intro pass to a nearby yoga studio and I’ve been practicing yoga a few times a week. Yoga is like, totally my jam right now. It has been the perfect blend of physical and spiritual practice.

Everything I do through the winter is also a build up to my running season. I’m a fair weather runner and I really enjoy my time off during the cold months. My fall trail running gave me some ankle and foot issues and yoga has been helping me get over them. I am a big champion of barefoot workouts and exercises that get you onto one foot at a time.

I haven’t been able to plan too much in the way of races for this season. Both Brad and I have been on a series of different short term work contracts and projects for well over a year. This uncertainty meant that we haven’t planned a honeymoon. With no set honeymoon, I had no idea when or what I would race after the wedding. Like any good running addict, I just signed up for races that were before the wedding.

Dreaming of my 2016 race season.

Dreaming of my 2016 race season.

Race #1: Toronto Women’s Series 5k – aka my bridal shower race

Date: Sunday May 29th

Goal: 26:26 or faster (my current 5k PR is 27:27)

I am not kidding my friends, my bridal shower is being coordinated with my first race of the season. The Toronto Women’s Runs are always so friendly and fun that I thought it would be a great idea to invite my friends to join me to run or walk 5k and then we’ll have my bridal shower. Not sure how many of them have signed up yet but I’m pumped. I really have to give it to my bridesmaids for agreeing to this 😉

Race #2: Toronto Waterfront 10k

Date: Saturday June 25th (you know, 6 days before my wedding)

Goal: Sub 58:00 (current PR is 59:58)

Brad and I are both signed up, plus Lily, one of my bridesmaids. This is my way of putting a deadline on Brad by saying “don’t you dare be leaving wedding shiz for the week before.” If you didn’t know yet, he’s designing our wedding and the man has big schemes and only a little bit of free time. I’m going to assume that Brad and I will both automatically PR this race because we’ve only raced 10k at the zoo. If you have never run the Toronto Zoo Run, it’s hills, hills, hills.

Other than that, we’ll see what the rest of the season brings.I do hope to hang out with my Mizuno team and my Burnbrae Farms team at a handful of events this year. And I do hope to be able to get back to regular blogging.

Oh one more thing … 8 weeks until my first dress fitting. That’s another super motivator to stick to my fitness!

Tell me, what goals do you have for this running season? 

Cheering On A Runner? Never Tell Them To Stop Walking

As you know, I’m the biggest champion of the run walk run method. This is my race plan. I walk on purpose. I walk to be faster. You may see me walk within the first kilometer of a race sometimes. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve had someone yell out to me “don’t stop Morgan, keep going.” Well, I didn’t stop, I’m putting one foot in front of the other. I’m not on the sidelines contemplating giving up. I am on pace and in control of my race.

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Here’s the thing, I know that these strangers are meaning well. They are trying to be encouraging. I’ve been racing for a few years and I’ve never really made a stink about this because I don’t want to seem ungrateful for the encouragement or come off like a jerk. With this blog post I hope you may reconsider how you cheer on runners.

photo-59-768x1024This year I’ve had the pleasure of working two Toronto Women’s Run Series races as a Mizuno Run Bird. What’s a run bird? Basically, we position ourselves along the race course and help runners out. Maybe it’s a high five, a shout of encouragement, and sometimes it’s jumping on the course and helping them run their last kilometer to the finish line. When I approach a runner to join them on the course the first thing I ask is what is their race plan. Sometimes they want to run the last kilometer no matter what. Sometimes they want me to talk, to be silent, sometimes they want to walk and stop to take pictures with the race photographer. The point is that I ask them how they’d like to be motivated. Everyone needs support in a different way.

So I’m asking, if you see me on the course at a race, please don’t tell me to stop walking. And maybe, don’t say it to the other runners either, because perhaps walking is their race plan. There’s a bunch of other things you can yell out at them.

Motivational:

  • “Keep going!”
  • “GO _________ GO!”
  • “WOOHOOO”
  • High fives, low fives, air fives
  • “You’ve got this”
  • “Looking strong”
  • “You’re killing it!”
  • Anything hilarious related to Ryan Gosling
  • Promises of food at the finish line

Not helpful:

  • “Stop walking”
  • “Someone’s on your heels”
  • “You’re almost there” (particularly when a runner is anywhere more than 1km from the finish line)
  • “There’s only ______ km left” (you may be wrong, or even 2km may feel impossible at that point)

You get the idea. I’ve been a spectator and cheerleader for more races than I’ve run. I always think about what I’m saying to the runner before I cheer. If all else fails, just clap and smile 🙂

 

Half Marathon Training Necessities

Less than three weeks until my first half marathon. It really is amazing how different training for 21km is from training for 5km. Yes, I know that running is supposed to be an inexpensive sport. And it can be, you just need some sneakers. However, there are things that can make training for longer races a little easier and a little bit more enjoyable.

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  • Running Shoes – my Mizuno Wave Riders

I was wearing Mizuno Sayonaras because I loved how lightweight they are. However, once I hurt my back I needed a little bit more support and moved to the Riders. These have been perfect for training.

  • Resistance band

I use this for my warm up. In addition to the almost ten other moves I do for my dynamic warm up, I use the bands for lateral walks to get my hips activated. It also helps me ward off IT band issues.

  • Gymboss Timer

Intervals. Always. I train, coach and race using the run walk run method so using my Gymboss Timer allows me to switch between my intervals seamlessly. My timer beeps and vibrates to let me know to switch paces.

  • Ipod

Obviously! I ran for many years without music when I did 5km. Now that I’m out on training runs for an hour plus, I need the tunes. I see a playlist blog post coming soon!

  • Clif Shot Energy Gel in Raz

I had these laying around from an event I was at last year so I gave them a shot (pun intended) for my last few long runs. My belly has been having a lot of trouble the last few months so I was very pleasantly surprised that these worked well for me. I need to grab some more for the last few weeks of training and race day.

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  • Fitletic Fuel belt

I’ll be honest, I don’t like this fuel belt very much. This was the newest piece of running gear I bought when I started pushing up my mileage. It was on sale at a race expo I was working so I grabbed it, not giving it much thought. Because I’m petite, the bottles in the fuel belt wrap around so they’re sitting on the sides of my hips. When I run my elbows hit the top of the bottles and scrape my arms.

  • Gatorade

Typically I prefer G2 instead of regular Gatorade but for training I’ve been using the regular stuff. I chose lemon lime because that’s what is on the course that day and with my anticipated finish time (slow that is) I know I’ll be looking to the aid stations.

What are your training or race day necessities? What important things do you bring or use for a half marathon or marathon?

 

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