Trust Your Training Plan

A lot of my friends & F’N Runners are currently in the midst of the heavy training miles for the 2012 Chicago Marathon.  Everyone is hitting their miles and making amazing progress yet their confidence is not boosted with the completion of each long run.  Instead they are filled with doubt.  They are doubtful they will finish, doubtful they are running enough, doubtful they will be fast enough to make the cut-off, doubtful that they can even make it thru next week’s run because the run this week went so poorly. 

I’m want ALL OF YOU to know that you will make it thru the next run, and the one after that, and the 20 miler.  We will get your nutrition in check and find out what works for YOU in order to get you to the start line with nervous excitement rather than doubtful dread.

chicago-marathon

You are certainly not alone when you look around and wonder if you are going to make it thru the training.  This is absolutely normal!  At this point, you are starting to hit the high miles and it’s not easy.  I remember getting back into my car after many a long run wondering how I could possibly get thru the next bump in miles.  Yet, I did it, each and every time.  It doesn’t get easier when  you have more marathons under your belt, you just know to trust the training plan.  Trust the training plan YOU picked.  Think about it for a minute, you picked a plan for a variety of reasons but basically because you thought it was “somewhat” manageable for your life.  You probably downloaded it from the internet, right?  How many other people have used that same plan before you?  You probably downloaded a plan from a well know website, right?  How do you think that person or that website got so popular?  Well, it wasn’t because the people who ran the plan before you didn’t make it thru the training,  couldn’t manage the next bump in mileage, didn’t finish their race.  They did finish and so will you!

So take a deep breath, stop panicking and trust in your training plan.  Here are a few things to consider:

  1. If you are having excessive soreness & fatigue after the long run, consider an ice bath.  Nobody wants to take one but they do help.  It is the fastest way to cool the muscles and decrease swelling.  Everyone does it differently but I sit in the empty tub, start the cold water, plug the tub and immediately dump in the ice.  I use a lot of ice, a heaping full 8×8 pan, no less.  Let the tub fill to the top of your hip bones and sit for as long as you can.  I usually shoot for 15 minutes between fill time & sit time.  I take my phone, check Facebook, brag about my AWESOME long run, let everyone know I didn’t die, send out a few tweets about how my training partners totally ROCKED THE RUN, etc.  Basically be prepared to distract yourself from the cold water.
  2. Don’t forget to use a Post Workout Recovery Drink that helps you get back your lost nutrients immediately after the run.
  3. If your “on the run” nutrition plan is not working, change it.  Now is the time to nail down what works for you.  Remember that what works for Suzy may not work for you, so talk to several people to get various ideas.  Keep trying, you’ll figure it out!  If all else fails, keep things very bland both the night before and the morning of the long run.  I like to keep it simple with a bland pasta dish with very little protein or fiber the night before, then a banana in the morning of the run.
  4. Consider getting up a few minutes early to drink a cup of coffee or have an energy drink that will get your blood and intestines “flowing” pre-run.  This could help avert an awkward run into the bushes for an emergency pit stop!
  5. Weather makes a difference!  By this point in the summer, you have probably realized that when it’s really hot out, its just not safe to run your normal pace.  In addition to adjusting pace, you will need to adjust your fluid intake.  Consider a hydration belt, handheld or hydro pack and plan ahead to drop water along your route.  Buddy up for the water drop and run so that you will have various places where you can expect icy cold water without having to do all the drops yourself!  I would also recommend dropping more than you need in case another runner, who is not as well prepared, needs to “borrow” some of your supply.   If you see this cooler on the trail, help yourself; I always bring extra!cooler
  6. Know that the higher temps and high humidity will result in more sweating.  The sweat flushes salt out of your system so go a little heavier on the salty foods the day before the long run.  Consider salty snacks, salt tabs, electrolyte drinks or a salt packet on long runs/race day to put a little salt back in your body to avoid water poisoning.
  7. Know that you and Suzy probably aren’t using the same training plan, so don’t go out and run 10 miles with her because that is what she has on her schedule.  Commit to the plan you picked and DO NOT feel guilty.  You will both be standing in front of the same finishers screen wearing the same shiny new medal!

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Don’t stress; “You’ve Totally Got This”!

Do you  have a specific training issue/question?  If so, comment below and the readers will try to help you out! 

If you have any training tips that can help calm the nerves of our beginner marathoners, I’d appreciate your sharing!

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

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Favorite Training Items Giveaway

This giveaway is from me to you as a way to say THANK YOU for your continued support.  Thank you for “liking” me on Facebook.  Thank you for “following” me on Twitter.  Thank you for following this blog.    If you aren’t a blogger then you may not understand how important it is to actually click on the follow button, or “like” me on Facebook but it is actually really important.  Each time I send out a request for a giveaway or a sponsor they come right here to look at my numbers to determine if it is worth their time to be part of this venture.  So thanks for helping!

Thank You

Since June kicks off training for the Chicago Marathon, I thought it would be a good time to concentrate on  a few of my favorite go to items for training.  Even if you are not a marathoner, you can still benefit from this goodie bag!  Promise!  Favorite Things GiveawayLet’s knock this out right now:  Yes, this goodie bag contains some AdvoCare products.  Yes, I’m an AdvoCare distributor.  Yes, I think AdvoCare has the best products for nutrition, energy & recovery.  Yes, if you click on one of these links and purchase something, I will profit. 

CONTENTS OF GOODIE BAG FOR GIVEAWAY ($75 Value):

  1. Personal Saver Pepper SpraySafety First, Second & Third…..right?!?!  I have several of these.  I prefer the Wrist Saverbut also have a Personal Saver like this to attach to my water belt or onto my skirt for immediate access while running.   I had a coupon code, not sure if it’s still active but if you purchase one, try the code:  TTF for $1.50 off.
  2. Toe Protectors (2 protectors) – I use these for EVERYrun.  I loose my toe nails regardless of the type or size of shoe I wear.  It’s just my thing and I’ve mentioned it previously.  Therefore, I always wear a gel toe protector on my second & third toe (right foot) and then use more if my other toe nails are sore.  These REALLY help!  You can find them at Walgreens or CVS in the foot care aisle.  
  3. AdvoCare Spark Energy Drink (3 packets) – I drink this before every long run.  I roll out of bed, drink this first, then go about my routine.  This not only helps me wake up but also gets the bodily functions moving BEFORE I hit the trail for my long run.   Sugar free, caffeine equivalent of 1 cup of coffee, 21 vitamins, minerals, nutrients.  45 calories.  My favorite flavor in the Mango Strawberry!
  4. AdvoCare Rehydrate Drink (3 packets) – I keep these packets in my purse, in my gym bag and Aby carries them in her track/cross country bag.  We dump this in a bottle of water for an on the go rehydrate product with a 1:1 ratio of sodium to potassium and only 40 calories.  My favorite flavor in the Mango Pineapple(Do you see a mango theme here?)
  5. AdvoCare  Rehydrate Gel (3 pouches) – I use these gels during long runs and long bike rides.  They are easy to carry and the gel is thinner than some of the leading brands.  The lemon flavor actually tastes good and I don’t cringe when it hits my mouth.  I must say that after years of using various products for refueling “on the run”, this is my favorite by far.  I’m VERY happy with this product!  Potassium, sodium & 21 grams carbs wrapped up in 80 calories.
  6. AdvoCare Post Workout Recovery Drink (3 packets) – I use this after every long run, long bike, and some random workouts that leave me zapped.  No exception.  I never use any other recovery product, ever.     This is the product that sold me on AdvoCare.  It works.  It takes the guess work out of recovery and what you need to eat to repair and recover.  I always knew that I needed a 4:1 carb to protein ratio for recovery but I’m not big on counting.  I just drink this on my ride home and then eat normal food the rest of the day.  I don’t need to worry about refrigerating it, just leave it in my shaker in the car and drink when I finish my run or bike.  It takes the thinking out of my recovery.
  7. AdvoCare Shaker/Blender Bottle – I mix everything in this.  If you use protein powders or any drink powders then you already know that chunks happen but this breaks up most of the chunks for a smoother drink content.  I keep one in my workout bag, one in my desk at work, one at the lake, two at home.  I almost always have one.
  8. Mission Athletecare Pomegranate Lip Balm with SPF +15 – This is by far my favorite lip balm for running, biking, workouts, life.  It’s the perfect consistency and stays on for a very long time.  It comes in lots of flavors but I prefer the pomegranate & mint.  It’s also Paraben Free and after reading Bridgett’s Beauty Blog, I’ve learned this a really big deal……although I can’t say I remember why.  🙂  You can buy certain Mission Athletecare items at CVS (in Illinois) but they are usually stuck in a corner somewhere, so you may have to ask where they are located.
  9. Mission Athletecare Max Muscle Rehab– Roll on gel for muscle soreness.  Feels good but since the scent vanishes quickly, everyone else doesn’t have to know you trashed your quads on the hills. 
  10. Mission Athletecare AntiFriction Cream  (2 sample packs) – I have used several Mission products in the anti-friction & anti-chafing line.  I like them, particularly for my feet and where my shoes (sandals too!) rub.

I have a ton of favorite products but these are things I use on a regular basis.  The total of this Goodie Bag is $75.  If you would like to enter the giveaway, please do one or all of the following and make a comment below as to what you have done: Make a comment below as to which of these products you are most excited to try (+1), Follow this blog (+2), Follow TooTallFritz on Facebook (+2), Follow @TooTallFritz on Twitter (+2), Share the giveaway via FB, Twitter, your blog, etc. (+2 for each share). 

The giveaway runs from now until 9am CST on July 3rd.  One winner will be selected via a random number generator. Good luck and spread the word!

** Happy Winning ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Avoiding Burnout…..

While many of us are on the workout/running train constantly and never seem to get bored with the task….

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Please know that everyone is in a different place and there are plenty of people who are currently struggling to get out there and do it again.  Yes Hollie, this post is for you.

Get Up Time to Run-cartoon

I know there are some people who are super awesome and can run every day, like Shelly HERE.  However, it’s not something that my body or mind can handle.  My hat is off to all of you daily runners.  I personally only run 3 or 4 days a week.   My time and family obligations do limit my running but my body also creates its own limits because I can’t take the daily pounding.  When I run, I tend to run a longer distance to “make up” for the days I can’t run. 

In order to avoid burnout, it is good to change up your routine.  Here are a few things you  might try in order to keep the workouts/runs fresh and fun.

  • Run new and different routes
  • Run with a friend or try a group run
  • Try a trail run instead of just pounding your miles out on the road
  • RACE!!  If I keep a race on my calendar every so often, it keeps me focused and in the game.
  • Go for a swim Triathlon anyone?
  • Ride your bike
  • If you have access to a gym, try a class:  kickboxing, spinning, yoga, pilates, or strength training.
  • Better yet, try ALL of the classes at your gym, make it a challenge to try a  new class each week.
  • No gym?  Get some new fitness DVDs for your TV.  Tae Bo, Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred, Bob Harper’s Yoga (See RunWithJess’ Yoga Challenge), Belly Dancing, Hip Hop Abs, P90X.
  • No TV?  Get a few weights or resistance bands for the house and follow the billion various strength workouts in the fitness magazines.  Do push-ups, squats, stretching, jumping jacks, sit-ups.
  • Go for a walk or hike thru the woods
  • Play Tag and Hide & Go Seek with the kids outside

The key to being healthy is moving.  That doesn’t mean that you have to run every day or run high mileage, do what is enjoyable to you.  If you feel as if you are burnt out on running, I am reluctant to say stop running but that is certainly a decision you have to make for yourself.  If you stop running, even for a couple weeks, know that you will lose fitness and have to rebuild.  It happens to all of us, we refocus and rebuild all the time for various reasons.  However, if you are already struggling a bit with motivation or why you run, starting at the bottom again to totally rebuild your fitness may cause more questions and/or depression.  So if you decide to stop running for a bit, focus on other fitness activities to keep you strong and fit.  Keep your chin up, reduce running to a fewer number of days per week, and add in a few new things to keep it fun and fresh.  You will be happy and running faster and stronger before you know it.  Everyone goes thru spells of frustration and fatigue, this is totally normal.  Relax, breathe and refocus.

As a side note, many people are getting burnt out due to improper fueling.  If you are tired all the time, then it may not just be about your running but how you spend the first hour after your run.  I use a Post Workout Recovery Drink after my runs and this helps refuel my muscles and reduces fatigue.  Think about what you do AFTER the run and consider that it may be affecting your NEXT run.  Hydration and fueling is a real issue as to why many people are frustrated fatigued on a constant basis.  You don’t have to do what I do, just do something to help yourself get to the next workout as recovered and fresh as possible.

What is your favorite type of cross training?  How many days a week do you run?  Any other ideas as to how to keep the fitness routine fresh & fun?

Stay Active!                                                                                                          Amanda – TooTallFritz.com

Race Week Do(s) & Don’t(s)

I think we all countdown to our important favorite races.  We all know that I have personally been counting down to the Palos Half (aka:  Southwest Half Marathon in Palos, IL) since early this week.  Apparently, I’m not the only one so I thought this would be a good time to go through a few  tips for our upcoming race week. 

RunningPeople

If you haven’t registered and would like to join the excitement , please register HERE now because the race is almost at capacity!  This is a premier running event on the Southside of Chicago and if you live in the southern suburbs then you are surely to  know ten one or two people racing on May 6th in Palos.  Come run with us.

Entering the weekend before the race, my legs are dead and very tired.  This is a good thing because by cutting back my mileage next week I will be fresh and a bit antsy on the start line.  You want to be antsy, to feel as if you haven’t ran/done enough “this week” when you get up race morning.  This is GOOD and means you are fresh and ready to bust out a fast pace!

RACE WEEK

DO

 DON’T

Drink lots of fluids – water! Drink a lot of alcohol
Get plenty of sleep Stay up late watching the Twilight Zone TV
Cut back your mileage/workouts Stairmaster, Run 40 miles & Bike Hickory Creek (The Hills!)
Swim & focus on lower intensity activities that keep the blood moving Drown because you are trying to swim 20 miles to make up for “not” running
Run a few easy miles Take the entire week off
Eat some good carbs (whole wheat pasta with veggies & lean protein, non-spicy marinara if you have a sensitive tummy!) Stuff yourself at a pasta dinner the night before the race and use the excuse you are “carb loading”
Stretch & Ice Use heat for sore muscles
Visualize the race & the finish clock with YOUR time Sell yourself short or be afraid of race pace
Plan to take more fuel than you “think” you need to the race Try a new type of fuel or hydration on race day
Charge your iPod & GPS watch Forget your iPod & GPS Watch
Plan for post-race recovery Assume that the race will have what YOU need to recover.  I always have my Post Workout Recovery Drink in my checked bag along with a bagel, banana & water.
Have a confident, positive attitude Freak out or feel as if you didn’t do enough

For me, my race week plan will include:  SAT (4/28) – 10 mile run at an easy pace, SUN – Bike, MON – Swim, TUE – 2-3 miles with fast turnover, WED – easy 6 miles, THUR  rest, FRI – easy 3 miles, SAT- Rest, SUN – RACE.

I have to keep it very low key the week before a race so that I’m fresh.  I have arrived on the start line ready to race mentally many a times and then quickly realized that my body was not recovered enough to hit the times.  What do you do for race week; anything special?  Do you have any race week tips?  Help us out!

Happy Running & Racing,                                                                                              Amanda – TooTallFritz

Hot Chocolate 15K (2011) – Race Review

I find it difficult to take a race seriously which is focused on promoting chocolate or beer, or music for that fact.  However, the RAM racing series made a real effort this year to make this a serious race.  The updates for this year included a new course thru the city streets and a corral system to put the faster runners in a better position to well, run fast.  If you want to run fast then you don’t want to be on an overcrowded lake front path with 500 other people who are all attempting to squeeze thru two water-stop tables “together”.  As soon as I saw the updated course map, I knew this would be a great race for me and a few friends because 1) it would be serious enough for me and  2) it would be fun enough for them.  This was a win/win situation in my opinion:  chocolate, fun and good racing!

The pre-race is all about getting a few photos into position so that you can check your gear and get into the corrals on time.  Most races I run are very formal and I’ve learned the hard lesson that if you aren’t there early, you may be starting at the back!  Here are the ladies who were available for the pre-race group photo….Me, Gail R., Michelle N., Marti, Trisha D., and Nicki T.

After the group photo, we separated and dashed over to Grant Park.   I was immediately impressed with the number of volunteers standing around asking runners if they needed help.  In fact, one of these nice people pointed us toward gear check.  I had two 5K runners with me and their gear check was in a different location than the 15K but they also started the race before me so it wasn’t a problem to get their gear checked and get them to the start before I even had to think about my race.  My only complaint for the pre-race has nothing to do with RAM Racing or the Hot Chocolate Race itself but the poor conditions of Grant Park, which is still recovering from the destruction caused during the Lollapalooza Festival in early August.  Many areas of the park have been closed off since Lollapalooza but it appears they are trying to reopen it.  I would bet my ass hazard a guess that this was the first event, in this area of Grant Park since Lollapalooza.  The grassy areas were very SATURATED with water and mud.  There was “some” grass but definitely more mud and water.  In fact, people kept asking if it had rained the previous night.  RAM Racing did  attempt to combat the problem by putting down plywood to walk to/from 5K gear check but short of covering the entire field, it was useless.  I have gotten less muddy on soggy trail runs than I did just getting these ladies thru the 5K gear check.  Oh well, not the fault of race officials.  So we are off to the 5K start!  Photo Op for Nicki T. and I at the drop off. 

Gear check and the start were in close proximity, there were loads of volunteers to direct us, the port-o-pots where plentiful and things were seemingly organized and running on schedule.  However, due to unforseen circumstances, the race start had to be delayed due to a semi truck getting stuck under one of the overpasses on the race route.  The delay was approximately 15-20 minutes while emergency personnel attempted to clear the situation.  When they did start the 5K runners it was with a revised route to avoid the problem area and that also elongated their race.  In my opinion, there aren’t many good reasons to delay the start of a race while I am out there freezing my ass off on the start line but this was beyond their control.

The 15K gear check was not nearly as muddy, I dropped my gear and left to figure out where I needed to be for my corral.   The volunteers were a little confused at this point as to where I should be going since the 5K was still in staging, and they sent me in a general direction to search out a green sign.   I apparently messed it up but instead found my way close to the start and a “green sign” with my corral letter.  Then I saw the 15K runners start to move up and realized I wasn’t in the correct spot but fortunately, since it was loosely organized at this point, I was able to just jump in with the “B” corral, or what was supposed to be the “B” corral.  I noticed that we had a few extras as I saw several “O” people, a few “A”s, and lots of “C”s.    I was told by other runners that things were confusing and nobody really knew where they were supposed to be, so some just jumped in line like I did when they saw the runners start to move into staging.  I wasn’t real concerned at this point though as I was so close to the start, I knew it wasn’t going to make much of a difference. 

Once the gun went off, we all had to squeeze thru the start banner to cross the timing mat, which only covered half of the street.  I initially thought oh, crap! it would be a problem but it went smoothly and we were off and running very quickly.  Even though I saw walkers as soon as I passed the start line, they never really interfered with the majority of runners and everyone around me seemed to be running a good pace, regardless of the letter on their bib.  It wasn’t overcrowed and I really was able to run as fast as I wanted without too much traffic interference for most of the race.  Of course, it was busy thru the aid stations and on turns but other than that it went well.  Although I didn’t use any of the aid stations, it appeared that there was both water and Gatorade on both sides of the street in multiple places throughout the course.  I saw several spots for port-o-pots but was fortunate enough not to need one!  I did hear the potty lines were long but other than the marathon, I have always had an issue with lines at the on course potty locations.  All in all, I think it was a good race!  I think they did a good job with the updated course and am sure they will continue to improve the race in future years.  My impossible goal was to run 1:15 and I was on target all the way thru, even toward the end until I hit the Roosevelt Bridge, which EVERY race in Chicago runs so I was expecting it.  Well, I basically clawed my way up that bridge on my hands and knees…..it wasn’t pretty….can’t wait for those photos!  So the bridge took me out.  Congratulations Roosevelt Bridge, you claimed another victim.  I finished in 1:16:40 but was happy with the effort although angry with the bridge.

Post-Race, big thumbs up to the Ghirardelli Chocolate!  Very tasty!  They gave us hot chocolate and a chocolate fondue plate with a 1/2 banana, pretzel rod, 3 apple slices, 1 medium marshmallow and I may be missing something but not much.  It was very good but thankfully I had already ingested my AdvoCare Post Workout Recovery drink and a bagel that I had brought from home or I would have been starved and probably getting the shakes from not taking in enough calories.  I always bring what I need for my own recovery because I don’t want to be shaking and vomiting trust anyone to have what I need to recover properly.  After a hard run/workout  you need a  4:1 carb to protein ratio to properly recover and since I don’t like to count calories or numbers at all, I always do the Advocare Post Workout Recovery drink so I am sure to get what I need without worrying about how to make it happen.  I strongly encourage you to always take what you need to a race in terms of your own fuel and recovery products.  Don’t count on the race to have it for you.  You need to get in the recovery product within one hour of when you finish, faster if you can, then you can have some fun……which is exactly what Nicki T, myself and Kristina H. did after the race!

Note to self……avoid the port-o-pot back drop for the next photo.

Blue Moon!

I’d definitely run this race again.  It was fun, I thought the course was good, the corrals worked for me and I think it will just keep getting better.  And any day that I can get away from the kids out of the house and spend some time with my girls, plus run a good race is a WIN for me.  So I guess I’m in and I WILL RUN FOR CHOCOLATE!

“Run”way Fashion….let’s just say I had a whole lot of wardrobe malfunction going on during the race….Brooks Glycerin Diva Running Jacket was super cute and I’ve worn it for non-running purposes multiple times and love it but it kept riding up while I was running!  I also had on my Alo TooTallFritz.com shirt that RaceExpressions.com did for me and the jacket basically kept  grabbing the shirt and pulling that up too!  Then on the bottom, I stupidly opted out of wearing the CW-X Compression 3/4 tights because they were dirty and instead chose the SkirtSports Under the Skirt Capri Pants because they are soft, awesome feeling, and have pockets but apparently I need to downsize because they kept slipping and felt like they were falling down until I was about half way  thru the race and apparently my sweat kicked in to hold them in place.  These are really awesome pants, just don’t think I will race in them again unless I get a smaller size.

Did you race this weekend?  How was it?  Would you run a theme race like the Hot Chocolate, the Monster, or the Rock N Roll races, or do you avoid them like the plague for being too commercial?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Happy Running,                                                                                                            Amanda – TooTallFritz.com