Grateful to Run, Finally! (First Track Workout Ever)

This week, my impatience grew relentlessly as I read fellow blogger’s training plans and races recaps. I was envy even of those supposedly “woeful” miles. (“At least, they got to run!” I thought)

I knew I had to “ease” my way back into training as my bout of tonsillitis/bronchitis took me out for half a month. Starting last Sunday, I was like a puppy that waited by the door to see if my owner (my lungs) would allow me to go out (for a run!) My husband, as caring as ever, would “nudge” this look of disapproval when I tried to put my running shoes on. Instead, I opened my yoga mat and did a simple vinyasa routine, just enough to get warm and broke a slight sweat. Ahhhh, it felt good to MOVE.

Monday came around and the windy weather prompted me to stay indoor yet again. Better not take my chances, the bronchitis was really painful. Yoga mat to rescue, yet again! This time, I added planks, push ups, and squats. That was when I knew I really needed to take my time to get back. I was exhausted with the added strength work out. But, it felt awesome to appreciate the soreness. Just a bit. Secretly, I believed runners/althetes might be slightly masochistic – pain welcomed!

Finally, my restlessness could not be contained on Tuesday. I went out for a run. I was pretty disciplined to stick with my recovery plan: run 90 seconds and walk 60 seconds for 30 minutes. It felt G-R-E-A-T to hit the pavement and at times felt breathless (both from the sheer joy of being outdoors & recovering lungs) I ended up with two miles, not bad. I had thought breaking one mile would be an accomplishment. Honestly, I had no idea how my lungs would do. Two miles on Tuesday felt just as triumphant as finishing a 5-miles-long-run.

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The run on Tuesday left me feeling confident. This promptly lead to my decision to join SJFit’s track workout that started yesterday. Another thing about runners/athletes: we generally think positively. Joining the track workout was a case of over enthusiasm, but not an abuse of the power, thankfully.

I have never done any track workout where the focus is on increasing performance with internal training. I read about it but without any coaching, I lack the discipline to do this myself. I told myself to show up (that’s winning half of the battle) and just took it easy. And I did. Even so, the workout introduced new set of training (tabata squats, 10 minutes distance assessment, group warm up/cool down) which meant new adjustment. The windy and cooler weather really did more “damage” than the workout. For some reason, it felt like a cool autumn last night than a summer night. That was classic NorCal weather though… I should have been more prepared.

All in all, I believed it was the right decision to show up and learned something new. Today, I woke up sore, tired, and a bit winded. I definitely plan to take today off. Maybe some recovery walk and stretching. Running has taught me the important lesson: listen to my body and learn when to back off. Knowing when to push (track workout) and when to back off is always a delicate balance. As much as I’d like to put the “back-to-training” in full throttle, it’s important to respect the physical limit post illness.

I’m grateful to be back and running, finally!

 

 

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Importance of Consistency

My brother came to visit from Taiwan the last two weeks. First week, I was pretty diligent in getting all my weekly runs. Second week, I only got one run in. It wasn’t so much of his visit that disrupted the training. Most of it has to do with work and the weather. (Yes, let’s blame everything else, but myself, right?)

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In all seriousness, I was suffering from the lack of training during my long run yesterday. I missed SJFit’s Saturday long run because I just had too few hours of sleep the night before (three to be exact) I dropped off my brother at the airport for his 1.40am departure flight. Man, lack of sleep really did me in! I decided against running for the fear of injury. Instead, I made up for the long run yesterday on my own. Well, let’s just say, doing one run/a week did NOT work at all.

The almost 90F sunny weather did not help. The entire time, I struggled to get my breathing to a rhythm. It was the same story with my stride and everything else. There was no rhythm to anything! It was one of those runs where nothing felt right (hello side stitch!)

My goal was to complete the 4-mi run. Well, I barely made it to 3-mi. I learned my lesson – DO the weekly short runs!! Yikes – I haven’t had such a choppy run for a while. The other lesson was to ease into summer running. Woah, the 87F weather totally roasted me! I thought I could “tough it out” Maybe I would have if it was a race or a group run (again, power of peer pressure) But on my own, the will power evaporated as quickly as the sweat. Ha!

I plan to run today. I haven’t decided to do 4-mi repeat or just the regular short run. I will take it on the fly. As I learned yesterday, proper and consistent training would dictate how a run turned out. Will power only got you so far.

Power of Peer Pressure

What is the key to set a PR? POWER OF PEER PRESSURE!

With SJFIt, we meet and do the long run on Saturday mornings. I officially switched my pace group from 12’30”-13′ to 12′-12’30”. The slower pace group is training with the 4 minute run/1 minute walk regimen and it feels comfortable. But I disliked the 4/1 plan as I never fell into a nice rhythm. It felt like stop and go.

I tried the 12′-12’30” pace last week. The group is training on the 8 minute run/1minute walk regimen and I like the rhythm much more. I figured that with the faster group, I would be pushed to train harder. And indeed, it was! Last Saturday’s run was 5K and I started in the last of the pack since I was also working on negative splits. I tended to start off too fast on my races (adrenaline played a big part!) As we moved into the second mile, I settled into the rhythm and fell into the middle of the pack. On the last mile, I felt a strange sensation on my right knee (the wonky knee!), but decided to continue running. There was no pain so I kept going.

As soon as I crossed the finish line, I felt a big relief as I felt the pace was faster than my normal pace. I supposed that was the definition of training – finding new challenge and push for the limit!

I checked Strava and was pleasantly surprised to see that I set a PR for 5K – 38’14”! I usually hovered around 40 minutes on 5Ks. I especially enjoying seeing “negative splits” The discipline to go at my own pace and get into the habit of “stead and slow wins the race”. Cheers to peer pressure 🙂

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Keep Calm & Run a Half Marathon

It’s official. I registered for my second half marathon!

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As aforementioned, I’m now training with San Jose Fit. End of the training season is running few local races together. One is the San Jose Rock and Roll half marathon; the other is Morgan Hill half marathon. I registered for the latter.

Having done rock and roll race, I knew the SF RnR race was my last. I had a good experience, however, the RnR races were getting too popular (read: crowded & expensive) Because of the crowd, the organization needed to be perfect & accommodating to all major cities’ traffic rules. SF race started way early (at 6am!) because of the need to open the Golden Gate Bridge. That was way too early! Additionally with that much crowd, parking/transportation needed extra planning.

Instead, I’m more in the mood for smaller race that is local & involves some hills/trails. Morgan Hill half marathon is perfect! Having registered for the second half marathon will definitely keep me on my toes with training. My goal is to run a sub-3hours time, which will be a PR!

Hooray, here I come! I mean, I run!!

Adjusting to Four Runs a Week

I signed up for San Jose Fit (SJF) to train for the next 28 weeks for my next half marathon in the fall.

Last Saturday was the orientation and placement run. Not surprisingly, I was placed into 12’30” pace group, the last “run” group before placing into “walking” group. I was totally okay with this as the 12’30” would give me my targeted goal of sub-3 hours on the race. That’d be my PR.

The training seemed to be well structured with coaches for each pace groups. I’m really looking forward to the track work out and the hill runs in a month. I have read about track work out. But, motivating myself to do it was a different story. This time, I’m relying on coach’s expertise and peer pressure to get me to do it! With the track work out, I’m hoping to build strength as well some speed. With the hill runs,  I want to develop different sets of muscle.

That being said, I’m finding it challenging to switch from 3 runs a week to SJF’s schedule of 4 runs a week. The Saturday’s group long run counts as one run and I will run 3 more times during the weekdays. Well, even though first week’s schedule looks “accomplish-able” with 3 runs at 20 minutes, I could not get that extra run in there. Work got in the way! And I think I need some adjustment to get into a new rhythm!

The whole point of signing up with a group training is to do something different and going for my PR in the fall. I will just quit whining and giving excuses. JUST DO IT. At least, at the end of the 28 weeks, I can say I have done everything I can.