Some Times You Just Need Rest

This week I have just felt exhausted. I hadn’t slept well all week, either, which doesn’t help. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve started to amp up my workouts for my half marathon training, or just one of those things where you just feel drained.

Some times you just need to learn to listen to your body and sleep, much like what the Stump Kids do on a daily basis...

Some times you just need to learn to listen to your body and sleep, much like what the Stump Kids do on a daily basis…

Either way, I decided I needed to listen to my body. Yesterday morning I wanted to do speed intervals for four miles on the treadmill, but after about two miles, I knew that wasn’t going to be, so I aimed for 3.5 miles. Suddenly, at 3.2 my legs just felt dead and I was worried I’d injure myself, so I stopped sprinting and just walked the last 0.3 miles at a slight incline. I took a little extra time to stretch, and then went home to walk the dogs and get ready for my day.

That night I wanted to do some weight training on my upper body, so I spent 20 minutes working with free weights (my activity was limited, since I had forgotten to pack a sports bra…grrr) and then headed home, relishing in the idea of relaxing all evening. M took the reins on dinner, so I grabbed my Kindle and read on the couch until it was ready. Later, I fixed myself a cup of Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea from Celestial Seasonings (yum, one of my favorite flavors), and actually went to bed to read at 10. Half an hour later, I was out like a light!

I woke up this morning to my alarm going off at 6:30–the latest I’ve been able to sleep in a long time. I took my time getting out of bed (had to snuggle with the Corgi, you know) and then took my time getting ready for work after doing a few yoga poses to stretch and wake my body. It was perhaps one of the most relaxing work mornings I’ve ever had.

Today is a total rest day for me–my body told me it was tired, and I have an 8 mile run planned tomorrow morning, so why not. (My normal “rest days” include an hour-long yoga DVD in the am and weights in the pm.) We’re going to have dinner and play cards with friends tonight, and that’s exactly what I think my body, and psyche, needs after this hard week.

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Workouts: 3/5 – 3/10

This past week was very trying for me because of some personal things going on, but I still did my best to do my workouts and have some solid runs, because, after all, the workouts keep me sane and clear my mind from the day.

Monday, March 5: No morning run (long weekend at the agility trial), but I did a solid 30 minute run on the treadmill (3.15 miles in 30 minutes with a 1.5 incline). After the run, I got in an intense weight training session with some squats, lunges, plie squats for my legs, an upper body workout, and some hard-core movements. Loved it!!

Tuesday, March 6: Yoga with Bob in the morning, then a medium-length dog walk after work. I filled in for a friend’s volleyball team in two grueling games that night that left my right shoulder sore from the amount of hitting and serves that it wasn’t used to in quite a while.

Wednesday, March 7: We hit the ellipticals before work–4.3 miles in 52 minutes to get in some cardio without the beating of the knees on the treadmill. Another medium-length dog walk after work before the girls and I had agility class the rest of the evening.

Thursday, March 8: We got to run outside before work, and it felt great!! We ran the same route we ran the week before, but my GPS measured awkwardly (I think it was that sun storm that morning), saying it was only a 3.9 mile run in 40:28 (the week before it was 4.7 miles…). I worked out some work aggressions in the gym later with an upper body and core weight session.

Friday, March 9: Off day! Just a dog walk after work to stretch their legs before friends came over for Girls’ Night.

Saturday, March 10: Long training run–9 miles!! It was an early morning, cold run, but I had to get it done early and I was happy to get it done. It felt great! After breakfast and a quick bridesmaids’ dress shopping trip, I took the dogs to the agility practice field for some work that wore my legs out even more (but it had to get done!). The rest of the day called for rest and relaxation–I deserved it!

Totals for the past week:
Walking: 8.12 miles
Running: 20.44 miles

Last Week’s Workouts – 2/26 – 3/3

Mother Nature blessed me with awesome running weather all week long!

Monday, Feb. 27: Because of a long weekend at the trial, I slept in Monday morning and chose to run outside after work. I was aiming for four miles, but my loop ended up taking me nearly five miles–and I felt great!! I didn’t even think to stop and walk at any time–since when did that start happening!?

Tuesday, Feb. 28: Yoga morning with Bob again! I had a breakthrough with some of the mroe difficult moves, which made me feel great! A short weight workout after work, then a walk with the dogs finished the day.

Wednesday, Feb. 29: Hard morning run on the treadmill for 3.33 miles–I’m not sure why it was a hard run, I was at 1.5 incline and only running about 6.2. Must have been an off day.

Thursday, March 1: A great morning run on a new route with Melanie saw us hit 4.77 miles, with just a few short walks (Melanie’s getting over being sick). It felt great running outside in the morning again.

Friday, March 2: Day off, except to walk the dogs.

Saturday, March 3: Long training run day!! 8 hard, long miles saw me start off really fast, then slowing down towards the end of the run because of my worn out legs. I later had to walk the dogs, and that was the longest 2.66 mile walk ever!

Totals for the past week:
   Run: 21.1 miles
   Walk: 12.69 miles

This week I’m working towards a 9 mile long run (ack!) and I really want to incorporate more weight training again (more on this later) because I’ve been missing it.

Having that “Aha Moment” in Your Training

Goofy photo, I know, but can't you hear him saying, "Aha!"?

Well, maybe using the phrase “aha moment” isn’t the best way to describe this post, but then again, it does describe things as a moment of clarity, or (for me) a glimpse of success.

I had two of those in my training so far this week. Monday was a gorgeous day, so I chose to run outside after work, rather than inside on the treadmill before work. Great decision! I wanted to get in four miles, so I ran a loop around where I work and where I used to live that I thought was approximately four miles. Well, about 45 minutes later I returned to my truck and saw I had run five miles. That’s right…I didn’t realize I was surpassing the four mile mark until I was coming around the circle and checked to see if I needed to push a little more before I hit four miles. When I saw I had, in fact, passed that number, I just kept running until I was back to the starting line. And I felt great!

It was that “aha moment” that I realized I was indeed improving my cardiovascular fitness and my stamina for running farther than just three miles at a time. It was a big moment for me and I was proud of myself for that run and wanted to savor every moment.

My splits for that run:
Mile 1: 8:53
Mile 2: 9:17
Mile 3: 9:13
Mile 4: 9:35
Mile 5: 8:59

Seriously!? No where close to the 10 minute mile mark I used to struggle to hold on to three years ago! Go me!!

Another fitness “aha moment” came Tuesday morning as I was practicing my “Yoga for the Warrior” with Bob Harper. There’s one very advanced move that he has his girls do called the “Bird of Paradise” in which you’ve wrapped your arms behind a leg like a pretzel, then stand on your hind leg and straighten the wrapped leg towards the sky.  When I first started this DVD, I struggled just to stand on the hind leg bent over. But Tuesday I decided to push myself because, after all, you can’t improve if you don’t step outside of your comfort zone, right?

My struggle was rewarded, as I was able to stand straight up and at least get my lower leg to a 90-degree position. No, it wasn’t perfectly straight up and down like the models in the video, but it was a step towards that and towards my strength for yoga.

I have to say, after Tuesday I’m really starting to enjoy yoga! I’m looking for more DVDs that I can purchase, but I don’t want to purchase any that might not work for long. Does anyone have any suggestions for yoga for runners and for stretching and toning?

I can’t wait to see what my next moment of accomplishment in my training will be…hopefully after I complete my 8 mile long run this weekend! We’re now two months away from the half marathon!

This Week’s Workouts (2/19 – 2/25)

This past week was an odd one as far as scheduling my workouts. I had an agility trial over the weekend, so I couldn’t run my seven miles on Saturday as originally planned. So I took to my weather app on my iPhone and saw that Thursday was supposed to be in the lower 60s and perfect for an after-work long run. With this in mind, I ran on the treadmill Monday morning, followed by an elliptical workout Tuesday morning, and more yoga than normal the rest of the week to allow for rested legs for my longest run, to date.

Monday, Feb. 20: 4.05 miles on the treadmill for a strong run to start off the week. This was followed by a light leg workout after work and a long walk with the dogs.

Tuesday, Feb. 21: On the elliptical for 51 minutes, I did 4.45 miles, which was a nice change of pace from the wear and tear I get on the treadmill. The dogs got a bit longer walk later that night after I did an upper body workout at the gym.

Wednesday, Feb. 22: Did my one-hour Yoga for the Warrior DVD with Bob Harper. I feel like I’m actually starting to get the hang of all the poses and am getting better at the more advanced moves–yay!

Thursday, Feb. 23: Long run! Unfortunately I was only able to get in about 4.8 miles outside because of the storms coming in faster, so I moved into the gym and finished my 7-miler on the treadmill for 2.3 miles in 21.56 (I pushed it because I was so frustrated with Mother Nature).

Friday, Feb. 24: Took the day off, except for walking the dogs on my lunch break–quads felt a little rubbery, which was different for me.

Saturday, Feb. 25 – Sunday, Feb. 26: “Off days” as far as schedule workouts, but I was still moving and grooving with the agility trial and running two dogs–lots of sprinting, stopping, turning, etc. Even though the runs are only like a minute or so long (sometimes less, sometimes more), you can come out of there breathing hard! (Watch this video to see how much I’m moving, directing, etc., all within 40 seconds or so.)

Totals for this week:
Run – 15.6 miles
Walk –  7.99 miles

So this week I’m hoping for more structure again. I took the morning off from the beating of the dreadmill because it’s in the upper 50s and sunny today–perfect for a four mile run after work! Over the weekend I was concerned I might have some minor shin splints, but I think it was just my legs being tired from standing/walking on concrete from the weekend and they were still recovering from the long run. I’m scheduled to do 8 this weekend, so I’m crossing my fingers for some nice weather Saturday and some solid workouts throughout the week.

This Week’s Workouts (2/13 – 2/19)

Week 3 of my half marathon training ended on a high note Saturday with my longest run, to date, of 6 miles through the rolling countryside of Central Kentucky. I ended the week feeling stronger in my running, which is great! I felt great after my run and after a little foam rolling and stretching, my hip didn’t hurt and on Sunday I felt almost like I could run some more (but I fought the temptation and actually had a rest day–yes, me!).

Remember that I walk the dogs just about everyday on my lunch hour, plus I try to walk them when I get home from work/gym if the weather is decent, which it has been lately!

So, here were my workouts for the past week:

Monday, Feb. 13: This was an odd treadmill run because I was having a little bit of stomach problems (ugh) and then half-way thru my run the power went out in the gym, so I am not sure exactly how long I ran, so I just pushed for 4.25 miles that I knew for sure I did (in 41 minutes). That evening I walked the dogs 1.46 miles (on top of the .74 mile walk at lunch).

Tuesday, Feb. 14: Performed Work #2 on Jillian Michael’s “Yoga Meltdown” before work, then did 2.3 miles on the elliptical after work to burn off some of the Valentine’s Day chocolate I had consumed during work.

Wednesday, Feb. 15: Four mile run: 5.8, 6.0, 6.2 (2.0), 6.4 (at 2.0) on the treadmill.

Thursday, Feb. 16: Three mile run on the treadmill at 6.2 mph, 1.5 incline, plus a one mile walk at 2.0.

Friday, Feb 17: Did hour-long yoga workout with Bob Harper on his “Yoga for the Warrior” DVD before work. After work, the girls and I walked the loop around the park for their conditioning program.

Saturday, Feb. 18: Ran 6.12 miles in 60 minutes 1 second and felt great–the course was hilly, but not unmanageable. We did walk some, but only for a few feet. Came home to my foam roller for about 10 minutes and a nice long stretch.

Totals for this week:
   Run -20.3 miles
   Walk -11.34 miles