Monday, February 27, 2012

My 7 Mile Training Run - Thanks to You!

Okay, first let me say THANK YOU VERY MUCH to everyone who took the time to read and comment on my last post where I cried out asked for advice.  I cannot tell you how much I appreciate  your help and I loved reading about why and how you do things.  I learned a lot that I am attempting to put into practice, starting today.

I have decided that while we are doing this half marathon training, and our runs are starting to get longer,  that I need to be way more careful about what I am eating... that I need to concentrate on food as FUEL, and to give up the JUNK!

Today we had a 7 mile run on the training schedule and I was kinda nervous about it.  I did an 8 mile run in September and since then, 6 miles has been the longest. Last night I sat down and mapped us out a 7 mile route and even though the last 3/4 mile would be uphill, I thought it would be quite enjoyable. In this neighborhood, no matter which way we head out, coming back is always uphill!

I  decided that we should run after lunch today, as it has been cooler the past couple of nights and I wanted to be out in the warmest part of the day, which was promised to be about 3C (38 - 40F, I think).... and a bit breezy, but sunny.

This morning I made sure that we had a good breakfast.  I cooked oats and added vanilla protein powder to them... then served Chobani Greek yogurt and nut butter on top, with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Almond Butter for me, chunky PB for him

At 11:30 I made lunch... home make potato and leek soup with crumbled bacon and Chobani Greek yogurt stirred in, a small grilled cheese sandwich, some grape tomatoes and a glass of fat free milk. Then about 20 minutes before we got our shoes and jackets on to head out the door, I got The Captain to share a nuun with me.  And I prepared another to pack along in my water belt.

I was determined not to overdo today.  I have learned that I should not be trying to run faster and longer at the same time, during the same run.  So I told The Captain that today would be a long SLOW run and that if he felt he needed to walk at all, it was all right with me.  I would not be running faster than I felt comfortable with and that I hoped not to need any walk breaks.  I wanted to wear my HRM to give me some backup on this pacing thing, but the battery on the chest strap was dead so that didn't pan out.  I knew though that I could just keep an eye on my watch if I needed.

So, off we went, down the hill and onto a familiar stretch of trail... then we took a turn onto a different section... one that we biked in the Fall, but have never run.  It is a very gentle downhill and we got to the turnaround point in 40 minutes.  I was feeling pretty good and The Captain had only walked a short way once or twice.  We chatted quite a bit and that is a good sign to me that we are running slow.

At the turnaround point, we started sharing the nuun that I was carrying.  We kept the same pace for about a mile and then I began to slow down a little, as the uphill started to get a bit more taxing.  But I was feeling good and The Captain was not complaining.  With about a mile to go, and most of it a steeper uphill slope, I was still feeling good... and I sprinted the last block to our corner. 

We finished the nuun as we walked up the steep hill to the house and I was pretty excited.  We had run out in 40 minutes, and back in 44 which resulted in 12 minute miles overall.  I would have been happy with 13 minute miles today and the BEST part was, I still had lots of energy left.  I felt I could have gone a lot further.

W3 R84 W4 no walk break

We came into the house and changed into dry clothes and drank some water while I made us each a smoothie from a scoop of chocolate protein powder and a banana.  We drank those while we stretched..... and I stretched for 10 whole minutes today where normally I have been stretching only 5 minutes.  (Stretching was a recurring theme in the advice I was lucky to be given.)

All of a sudden my right calf started cramping up, and so I put some relaxant gel on it and it helped right away... and then my feet started to cramp a bit too.  The Captain had me drink 2 more glasses of water and I put on some sneakers and walked around till the cramps let up.  Odd, very odd.

Then I had a hot bath!  And just laid in it and relaxed... and it was wonderful... and then after I dried I put a Recovery sock on my left leg, and my Tommie Copper calf sleeve on my right leg, and have been feeling good but tired ever since.

Dinner was pasta with meatballs and lots of veggies, with some fruit and Greek yogurt for dessert.

I have decided that:
  • eating more protein throughout the day has stopped the sugar cravings and made me less hungry overall 
  • drinking nuun before the run as well as during, helped me feel better during and after the run and more energetic, and I wasn't thirsty once
  • I need to stretch for at least 10 minutes after a run
  • I do need to eat some protein within half an hour after I run and will be experimenting with protein powders, eggs and egg whites
  • When I run longer, I am going to be tired and my muscles are going to need  more time to recover
  • I need to keep my feet warm and supported after I run.  I should wear shoes not slippers.
  • Asking other runners for help and advice is the best thing for me to do when I have concerns and doubts.
So a 7 mile run under my belt and now I am very excited and eager to keep going with our training.  And I am gonna sleep like a log tonight!


  1. Awesome run!! That is proud of you!!!

  2. YAYAYAYAYA!!!! Great 7 miler :) it sounds like you and the Capt. had a great run. and wow taking on those inclines! you go!!! 5 mins stretching?!?!?! and now you've upped it to 10! - that was most likely the issue. I have to stretch like crazy after a long run. And you know what after you get out of the hot bath you could even try to stretch more....b/c your muscles will be hot. I stretch out even my arms and stomach, even muscles I don't use. It's go to practice.

    Sorry for nagging :P Although, now I've lost much of my flexibility since I pulled that hip or whatever it is. NO idea!!!

    SO proud of your 7 miler!!!!!

  3. Wow! This sounds so amazing. You sound so happy with the 7mi (as you should). Also, I've never thought of adding nut butter to oatmeal - I'll have to try it.

  4. Great job on your run, that is good news that you still had energy left when you are done, means that an 8 miler should be a piece of cake too :) I am a bad bad stretcher and consider it good if I get in two or three stretches after I run.

  5. Great job Elle! That is so awesome and even better that you felt like you could go longer. Great tips, I will use some of them for my 13.1 today. Wish me luck!

  6. Great job and I can't imagine you ever eating just junk! You do a great job fueling yourself and the Captain.

  7. That breakfast looks really good! I think your list of things sounds great - nice job on your run :)

  8. way to get the long run in and great pieces of advice takeaways, it sounds like you guys are on your way to a fantastic end of training!

  9. Elle! this is absolutely fantastic! i am sorry that i missed out on your post where you asked for help but it sounds like you got some great advice. you are learning so much...but also...your commitment to great habits in your training is a great model for all of us to follow as well! it sounds like you fueled really well. congrats on a great run :)

  10. I think again you have a great plan! I am always tweaking my schedule!

  11. Yes, I LOVE stretching after a's my little "zen" moment :)

    It sounds like your training is going well and your nutrition looks so yummy.

  12. I LOVE THIS POST, ELLE! I don't know why, exactly, it is just so perfect!! I love the way you write about running and how you felt after your run - full of energy and like you could keep going. THAT is EXACTLY how you should feel! That is how you know you were not running too fast or too slow.

    Congrats on a fantastic run - how exciting! I am glad you found helpful advice, that is one of the things I love about this community. Everyone is so helpful and willing to share their thoughts and experiences with anyone who asks.

    We always try to eat something with a 4:1 carb to protein ration within 45 minutes of a run. If not, you really are doing your body a disservice after all the hard work it did. I'm so glad you are able to do this (and, as always, your shakes sound wonderful).

    I hope you are having a fantastic week! :)

  13. You're doing such a great job with your training! I'm so proud of you!


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