Weekend Running Recap

Before last fall, I never followed a training plan. Even for my first half-marathon, I very loosely followed Jeff Galloway's run-walk plan but substituted full runs for run-walks and varied the weekly distance. So it's very surprising to me that none of the training plans I've seen call for practice runs, where you run the race course (or approximate) at the pace you plan to run on race day. I can understand that for a marathon. Maybe even a half (though I did practice runs for my half). But no practice runs for a 5K?

After my two half-marathons last fall, I decided to get serious about running, started looking at training plans, and am now following Coach Jenny's 5K intermediate plan. It's a great fit for my lifestyle because I like to do yoga and strength training and not just running, it hasn't exhausted me or pushed me to injury, and it's something I really enjoy. However, I don't understand how all the easy runs will make me faster, which is my goal. My 5K race--Just a Short Run--is three weekends away, and I have no idea how fast I'll run. I know it will be in between my fast interval pace and my slow easy pace, but that's a three-minute difference!

So yesterday I went against the plan and substituted the 30-minute easy run for a 30-minute race practice run. Coach Jenny advises running without a Garmin and going by how your body feels. That might work for those who can read their body's cues, but I struggle with that. I started off fast and felt great. I forgot to set my Garmin to "average pace" so I could see my pace varying from 8:30 to 9:30. I felt great for exactly 15 minutes then fell apart. For the second half of the run, I slowed down to about 10:30 though did find energy to push at the end. This taught me to start off slower (duh!) and to perhaps try to aim for a pace in between 9:30 and 10:00, at least to start with.

After the run, my stomach was upset for most of the day. I have a sensitive stomach, and my big problem with my first half was getting extremely nauseated and sick at mile 11 and having to walk the rest of the race. I have low blood sugar, which my doctor diagnosed after I felt faint and sick when I exercised first thing in the morning without eating anything. His solution was to consume simple carbs before exercising, but I still struggle with the right mix. I want to have enough sugar in my blood to sustain my run, but not so much that I feel sick when I push myself, which is what happened yesterday and at previous races. This is something I need to work on. Final stats: Time: 30:01; 3.05 miles; 9:50 pace.

In the afternoon we had a greyhound playdate at the mud pit (the dog park) at Frick Park. We were all covered in mud, but it was fun. My husband got some good pictures. Here is Django greeting a very cute pit-mastiff mix puppy.

Here's Django relaxing in the mud.

Django and his buddies Truman and Henry running together.

And here's a great picture of Henry, who had his leg amputated last December to remove cancer. This is the first time I've seen him since his surgery, and it was great to see him running and playing and being happy.

This morning (Sunday) was a 60-minute race simulation run, where I ran the first 20 minutes at an easy pace, the second 20 minutes at a moderate pace, and the last 20 minutes at a hard pace. During the run, I imagined Coach Jenny shaking her head at me over my fast-then-slow run yesterday. The sun made the 24 degrees seem pretty warm, and it was a nice run down the trail, across Fort Duquesne Bridge (which was icy), through Point State Park, back on the trail to just past the Casino, then back. Stats: Time: 1:00; 5:47 miles; 10:58 pace.

I got my first two issues of Runner's World magazine and promptly started devouring them. I read the online articles but it's nice to have the print version. After my run today, I did the suggested glute exercises recommended to prevent injury.

Weekly Recap
Total weekly mileage: 16.81

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