Note: This blog post has been slightly updated since its original posting in December 2015.
I have been LOVING 5k race training for the past 3 weeks or so. I know I briefly talked about that in my last blog post, but I just can’t get over how much fun it has been to include more speedwork and shorter distances into my regimen. A runner I know just recently talked to me about how much harder it is for her to work on speed than it is to work on endurance. I totally get where she’s coming from.
When I’m training for a marathon or ultramarathon, I am not worried about my back-to-back long runs; there is nothing really too discomforting about them. Sure, I get tired at some point and want to stop because I’ve been running for 3+ hours for the second day in a row, but I’m not gasping for air in desperation. When I’m running long distances in training for marathon or ultramarathon distances, it’s at an aerobic pace (I’m getting enough oxygen to my muscles) so lactic acid is not really being produced or is not produced at the rate of it building up and slowing me down. But when I’m doing speedwork or training for shorter distance runs, most of my runs (weekend “long” run not included) and all of my track sessions involve lactic acid building up and breathing becoming not as easy as it was. Simply put: I totally understand why incorporating actual speed work (not just running fast) isn’t on people’s favorite-things-to-do list. But I love it anyway. And I think I love it and appreciate that feel-good burning sensation in my legs because I’m seeing improvement. When I’m on the track and running hill repeats, I feel so much stronger than I was when I was ultra or marathon-training just a few months ago.
Part of why I think my speed is improving is that I really took to heart something that I read recently and I’ll recall the phrasing to the best of my ability:
Runners often limit their improvement and running potential because they tend to run their slow runs too fast and their fast runs too slow.
It didn’t take me long to realize that that statement can explain so much of my previous training. In my previous periods of training, I’ve completed track workouts and fast workouts without feeling the exhaustion I used to feel when I was running track back in high school. In high school, I would feel like I was DYING after each repeat of an interval session, yet when the coach said to get back on the line, we all did it and managed another 200 or 400 or 800 meter repeat no matter how “dead” we were. And we got faster. I’ve been thinking about that quote and my track experiences during all of my workouts lately and using them to guide me and I’ve seen the results in my training.
This showed me that no matter how long I’ve been running or how much I love it and think I know about the sport, there is and will always be so much room for learning and improvement. And that improvement was going to take hard work and minimal excuses. One excuse I learned quickly that I had to eliminate from my bag of excuses: rain.
I knew that when Betsy’s Best Bar None agreed to sponsor a mid-fall race that I’d be looking at most of my running taking place in the rain. Heck, just moving to Portland meant that most of my running was going to be taking place in the rain. I’ve had to really get back into the mindset that I had as a kid or even when running track: running in the rain can be enjoyable. What may prevent it from being so, though, is the back-and-forth questioning and self-induced stress about getting wet that takes place in our head. In my opinion, it’s easier on you and better for you also to just throw on a water-resistant layer, lace up, and go.
Recently, it’s been quite the rainy weather here in the Pacific Northwest, but I can’t just not run and I dislike running on treadmills. After a dentist appointment the other day I met with Betsy from Betsy’s Best at a track to pick up the new shirt. I’ll wrap up this post with the following pictures and captions.
It’s quite an improvement from their previous design. The images of their bars and natural ingredients definitely make the shirt stand out more.
I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m definitely smilng strangely here. This is maybe 20 minutes after some restorative dental work and I’m all numbed up from my right cheek to the middle of my lip, including the right side of my tongue, but I could not be stopped from getting in a quick workout.
Holy Oat Balls!
1 1/3 cup rolled oats, 1/3 cup chickpeas, 2 tbsp peanut butter, tbsp nondairy yogurt, your preferred amount of mini chocolate chips, tbsp of chia seeds, 1/2 tbsp cacao powder, dash of cinnamon, and about 1/4 cup of nondairy milk.
Blend chickpeas, nondairy yogurt, nondairy milk, and peanut butter until somewhat smooth. Mix with remaining ingredients. Form oat balls with mix. Place on nonstick baking pan. Bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes.
Why did I make these and use these ingredients? The protein from the chickpeas, oats, peanut butter, chia seeds, cacao powder, and even some from the nondairy yogurt and milk that you choose, makes for a great way to recover from a hard workout! The low glycemic indices of these ingredients/foods makes these great for long-term energy so you can enjoy a couple as your breakfast (great with nondairy milk or coffee) to fuel you for your later-morning or afternoon run.
What is your favorite food for fueling and recovering? Have you ever tried making your own oat bars or “energy” bars before? What’d you use and why? Do you avoid running in the rain? Do you love it or at least tolerate it for the sake of meeting/maintaining your fitness goals? Let’s talk!