Monday, June 25, 2018

My 2018 Assessment (thus far) 


So, how has 2018 treated you so far?

Things have been going alright for me. There have been some lessons learned, new workouts to try, several events to take part in, and a few happy moments as well.

Often times, #hashtags tell the story best, so here's what they have to say about 2018, thus far.

#UpAndOutTheDoor
A major thing that has rocked my world in 2018 is my commitment to early morning rising and shining. I had heard a lot of good things about "fasted cardio" workouts, so I decided to give them a try for myself. Basically, fasted cardio workouts are done after a period of fasting (for me, that means first thing in the morning). It was not my goal to lose weight, but to burn some of my residual body fat. 

What works for me is to shoot for 20-30 minutes of cardio first thing in the morning, before I have officially even started my day. More often than not, it's as simple as a power walk through my neighborhood, but sometimes I do stair work or HIIT circuits (usually involving burpees, push-ups, and various intervals of calisthenics). Also, once a week, I do my #5at5 run (five miles at 5:00 a.m.), which takes anywhere from 45-55 minutes, depending on the route. Any workout that will take longer, I will do later in the day or after I've had some food/fuel. My results? So far, my weight has not budged much, but I have lost a couple of inches around my waist. My abs still need some attention, but they are looking more firm overall.
Assessment? #thumbsup
Up and out the door before the sunrise
#RunnersCanWalkToo
Going hand-in-hand with my early morning routine, is my love of all things walking. As mentioned above, a lot of my early morning cardio is via the simple act of power walking. I realize a lot of runners have mixed feelings on walking (because it's not as fast as running), and that's unfortunate. Power walking has a calorie burn comparable to running, but has much less impact on your joints. It also works your leg muscles differently, so it's a great supplemental exercise to consider on a rest/recovery day. When I was out of commission from running last summer, I turned to walking to maintain my cardio endurance and to keep my legs active. Now, I walk pretty much everyday, in some capacity, and have really noticed a change in my legs' strength and endurance.
Assessment? #keeponkeepingon
just a walkin'
#NotJustARunner
It's no secret running is my sport of choice, but I'm a strong believer in doing other forms of exercise to stay healthy and fit. I routinely strength train, I do daily planks, and I have been known to run a few stairways now and then. I have tried to establish a consistent habit of yoga, but that has been a battle. I always feel oh-so-good when I'm done, but getting out the mat and actually making the time to do some deep breathing and gentle stretches or balance poses....ugh. The good news is that I have been doing some yoga. The bad news is that I have not been doing it very often.
Assessment?#needswork
I'll happily drop for a 5:00 plank, but ask me to do yoga and I'll procrastinate....
#RaceDayReady
There have been a lot of bibs pinned on, so far, in 2018:
2 - 5K's
1 - 5 miler
1 - 10K
2 - half marathons
1 - 20K
1 - 76-mile team relay
1 - stair climb event
1 - 1 miler
Assessment? #themorethemerrier
10 events thus far!
#ComfortZoneViolation
A big change for me, in recent months, has been adding speedwork to my training. I know, I know....most runners do speedwork (and some of them actually enjoy it!). Although I have always done some speedwork, I have never been very consistent with it. Let's be honest, speedwork is tough. I have long, awkward legs and "speed" does not come natural to me. And, quite truthfully, I'm more intrigued with running far than running fast.

None the less, I can't deny that I have been riding a plateau of sorts for awhile, in terms of my finish times. Although I have not really gotten any slower, I have not been spanking very many PR's either. After doing some speed drills this spring, I ran my first-ever 1-mile race (the Grand Blue Mile) in late April. Much to my surprise, I placed 3rd in my age group...out of 76, with a 7:53 finish time. Now, to keep things in perspective, the overall female winner ran that same mile in 4:35 (or about)...my "fast" mile was fast for me, but nothing grandiose in comparison to the really fast gals. Although my ego has remained in check, that fast mile made me realize that I may have been doing myself a disservice by not respecting speedwork. That's the great thing about running, there's always a new lesson to be learned, right?
Assessment?  #showspotential
Still in shock at that fast mile...
That's what's been happening in these first six months. I'm really excited to see what's in store for the remainder of 2018. I'll be in Chicago for the Rock'n'Roll ReMix weekend in July, and there are several other smaller events on tap for the remainder of summer.  I have my 8th marathon happening in October (the Cannonball Marathon, Greensboro NC), plus a few more late fall races in the works.

Talk to me! How has 2018 been for you so far? Any great race moments? PR's? New training strategies? Lessons learned?

**I'm linking up with Marcia and Patty and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run.

**I'm also linking this with Debbie and Rachel and Marc and Lora for the Running Coaches' Corner
Running Coaches Corner Logo

40 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great year so far! Nice job on all the races.

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    1. Thanks! It's been a pretty fun ride, thus far ;-)

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  2. You've accomplished alot this year! It took me awhile but I think I have finally made yoga a habit. Now let's see if I can actually stick with it.

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    1. I wish I could make yoga a habit. Even when I try to do a few salutations every morning...but the end of the week, I'm already forgetting about them...

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  3. I agree, there's always something to be learned about running!

    I walk a lot, because of the dogs, but it definitely ain't power walking. My true love is hiking, but it's so hard to squeeze in!

    I actually don't use a yoga mat at home. The room I do it in is carpeted.

    Man, those are a lot of races! Making up for lost time from last year?

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    1. The bulk of these races are ones I usually do every year, but there are a few new ones.

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  4. I'd say you do hashtags better than anyone I know!. Nice year so far.

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    1. Hashtags are fun...they kind of tell extra details without having to use complete sentences LOL

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  5. I've always been a fan of fasted cardio! I actually break my fast pretty late and eat during an 8 hour window. Still aspiring to get in daily walks...

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    1. The fasted cardio really hasn't been that hard to implement. I usually eat my breakfast mid morning at work, at my desk, anyways. It definitely feels good to greet the day with some movement!

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  6. All of my runs since the beginning of time, except for those over 8 miles, are done in a fasted state. It does a body good! Nice year so far!

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    1. My runs are similar....usually anything above 6 miles is my bench mark, but I have gone longer/farther without any problems.

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  7. Maybe not lessons learned, but reiterated. I wasn't as good as I normally am with prehab, and my ITB spoke up during my last race. I still pushed through, and now I know I need to be better.

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    1. those PT moves really make a difference, but they are so hard to stay consistent with (especially for me).

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  8. What a brilliant first half of the year! You are kicking 2018 out of the park! I want to do a lot more walking. Before I started running, I used to love taking long walks. I will need to find a way to do those once in a while.

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    1. I like walking much more than I ever thought possible. I mainly love just being outside, so it's a win-win feeling all the leg muscles flexing ;-)

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  9. I really like all that walking! I, too, used walking as my running substitute when I was injured and waiting for my surgery. I walked some afterwards but once I could get back to running, I did. With this ultra training though, I know that "practicing walking" (as silly as that sounds) is probably necessary. I think you've inspired me to add power walking one or two days a week after I finish a run and BEFORE I walk my dog. Because, let's face it, that's mostly a walk, stop and sniff, walk, stop and sniff, walk, stop and sniff adventure. I'm thinking it might actually help!

    And, I love hashtags and yours are awesome. :)

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    1. oh gosh YES...the power walking is done without my little adorable Max. He is constantly sniffing and marking every 20 feet or so. But I still love him ;-)

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  10. He real reason I started running was because it was twice as fast as walking! I’m still not all that fond of it but I do know giving my body a break is good for me.

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    1. Unfortunately, last summer I had no choice but to walk or sit idle since I couldn't do anything that involved a lot of knee bending. I really gained a new appreciation for walking and am glad I had it in my arsenal ;-)

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  11. I'd say your year is off to a running start! I tried the fasted cardio for a few months and had similar results. I did feel a little more toned in the waist area. When I had to do longer runs in the winter, I just needed fuel first so I kind of gave it up. Maybe I will try again this fall. You have a great routine that works for you well

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    1. If I'm running more than 6-7 miles, I usually have some food or fuel as well

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  12. I do a lot of walking on the trails, and noticed that, interestingly, my heart rate comes down faster if I run slow vs power walk. But it's faster to power walk up the steeper hills than to try to run it.

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    1. I'd believe that! When I've done some trails (or especially steep hills), I usually can "walk" it faster than run it, especially with my long legs ;-)

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  13. You've been busy this year! Walking is great and whenever I got injured early on in my running, I learned to accept that walking is not bad! It's definitely easy on the joints and I'm all for it. I do most of my workouts in the morning and they tend to be fasted. For some reason that's always worked for me. Glad you've seen improvement! Speed work is awesome but definitely a necessary evil for some!

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    1. Now that I'm finally seeing results from speedwork, I'm a little more interested in doing it ;-)

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  14. I'm so impressed by all you do. maybe you need work here and there (your words, not mine ;) ) but you are consistent and you motivate me to keep moving! All the extra stuff I do is because I see you doing it and I think, hey, I can do that too!! so well done!!

    For me this first half of the year can just suck it. I had too many issues with my foot, my mother-in-law died, I was way too busy to train properly (my own fault - I've solved that now) , there was uncertainty at work, stress, my ear issues... FINALLY this month it feels like things are going better. So here's to a great 2nd half of 2018 for both of us!

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    1. If I had a drink in my hand (and you in your's), I'd propose a toast to a great remainder of 2018! Cheers!!

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  15. You have been one busy beaver my friend! And, you know me! I absolutely LOVE fasted runs. I hate running in the middle or end of the day! And, plank on sister! I aspired to plank as well as you ! Sounds like you've had a great first half of 2018 - I've enjoyed seeing it all. Now I better up my race game too! ;)

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    1. ha ha! The fasted runs have served me well, so they shall continue ;-)

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  16. Speed work is also my least favorite. I like tempo runs and the challenge I get from them but full on speed work makes me feel like I might die haha.

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    1. oh, no doubt! Speedwork is hard for me because my body feels so awkward...long legs, inward-turned knees (I'm sure there's a medical/scientific term for that) and big clumsy feet LOL I probably look like a circus act!

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  17. Nice year so far - great mix of races!

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    1. Thanks! Looking forward to Chicago!! Bring it!!

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  18. I've been trying to incorporate more walking into my routine too, I agree that it really helps! And I enjoy it :) I'm one of those that likes speed work. It gets boring just doing my easy run pace all the time. Or course, my speed work pace is still slower than most people's easy paces but it feels like I'm pushing myself and adds some variety to my routine :)

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    1. For me, walking is a no-brainer.Even if I'm tired from a long day at work, or feeling the effects of an early-morning workout...an afternoon and/or an evening walk can still be done.

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  19. I love your mantra (hashtag) for morning runs! That's a great way to ensure you get some running in before the day gets too hectic!

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    1. I agree. Often times, if the run happens early enough, but the end of the day I have often forgotten it's been done...and then I get the bonus of not "needing" to do anything after work (upon actually realizing the daily workout was finished several hours prior) ;-)

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  20. Love how you've laid this out. Some good learnings too for me. I come from a place of walking all over the place (live/work in Manhattan) that turned into running so figuring out the off days can be a challenge. Good luck with the second half

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    1. Thanks!Walking is an easy "filler" on rests/recovery days when you want to do something, but don't want to totally exhaust yourself.

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