Sunday, August 2, 2020

Dopey Training: Month 1 Review

Month one is done! This month has been a roller coaster--my birthday, the cancellation of Wine and Dine, another month of unsuccessful job hunting, and the pandemic is still raging on in many parts of the country. You can't open social media for a minute without someone asking, "Do you think Marathon Weekend will happen?" and quite frankly, I'm in need of a social media break because of it!

With July behind us, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on my own goals and the first official month of Dopey training. In short, it was perfect! Rarely do you get a month where you can just run according to your plan, but I guess that's the benefit of quarantine and Bill having inconsistent work. I've prioritized my runs and got out 3 days per week, working on speed and building to a 10-mile long run. It's felt comfortable and invigorating! I kept up with HIIT and strenght workouts, but I definitely need a bit more consistency in those. I need to add more core training; I let that go in quarantine.

Nutrition was meh at best. I've started tracking my food, and saw a slight tick down on the scale. The days around the long run are the hardest. There is good reason people say losing weight when marathon training is hard. I'd love to get off (and keep off) 5-10 pounds, just for speed and impact on my joints.


I also started a log to track my quest of 40 races for my 40th birthday! Having a little creative time to make stickers, bullet journal, and color has been a nice break. I'll sit down with Robby and we draw together. He gives the best compliments!

So now we look ahead. I've decided August is my month of acceptance. I need to accept that the gym is not open. I need to accept that I am not teaching and training as much at the gym. I, therefore, need to accept a home workout routine that fills in the cross-training gaps that I usually put zero thought into, due to my job. I'll continue to work on speed with track workouts. I'll increase my long run to a half marathon. I'll also continue to tighten up nutrition for my own health and weight loss. 

I still have no plan or goals to how I will run Dopey. I think I'll have a better idea when the simulation weekends come around. I know I will definitely follow the run/walk/run intervals and I'm certainly not going for any sort of speed. 

My marathon weekend friends, have you started training? How is it going?

Friday, July 31, 2020

Friday Five: 5 Tips for the Run/Walk/Runner

I'm going to make a WILD assumption: if you're here, you probably run Disney races or want to run Disney races. Since that's the case, you likely already know of Jeff Galloway, the father of the run/walk/run method and the official runDisney running coach. His plans are laid out beautifully on the runDisney website and are followed by tens of thousands of runners each year. I adopted this method when I took on Dopey in 2014, and it helped me PR my marathon (during Dopey, after running for 3 days) by over 26 minutes! I was sold! It also got me through both pregnancies, post-partum journeys, and a half marathon 6 weeks post-knee surgery. I'd say that gives it an A+ in my book. If you're a beginner, it's my go-to recommendation, but I also caution you that it's not just for beginners. Many runners can benefit from this type of running. 

6-weeks after knee surgery!

Before I go down that rabbit hole though, let's get to our Friday Five! I've put together 5 great tips for those Galloway runners out there! Let me know what you think!

1. Make your runs faster and your walks slower. Duh! Isn't that the point? About a month ago I saw someone giving advice in a big Facebook group saying "Your run and walk are almost the same pace." Um, no. That defeats the whole purpose! Run, and run fast. Walk, and walk to recover. There should be a difference. For reference, right now my run is about a 9:30 pace and my walk a 14:00 pace. Find what works for you, but don't sell yourself short. 

2. Stabilize your hands to help you catch your breath. I'd put this tip more for training runs than the actual race, but especially as a beginner, if your aerobic fitness isn't the greatest, you will find yourself winded after the run (see point number one). That's okay, and to help catch your breath, put your hands on hips, on your head, even on your running stroller. By anchoring your hands, you are allowing your chest to help expand your ribcage (and thus, your lungs) because it doesn't also need to move your arms. This is why we fall over and put our hands on our thighs, huffing and puffing, when we need to catch our breath. 

3. 30 second walk breaks are the special sauce. If you've followed Galloway for some time, you know he used to recommend a one-minute walk break. Over time, he's actually changed it to a 30-second breat, noting that runners slowed significantly in the second half of a minute and took longer to get up and go again. After doing both, I'd agree! Try different combos; that's what training is for, but seriously consider minimizing your walk break to just enough to get you ready to run again.

4. When in a race, please signal your walk breaks. It is commonly recognized that when you put your arm up, you are going to walk. Start practicing that now. When it's time to walk, KEEP RUNNING, put your arm up, take a quick look behind you, THEN begin your walk break. Putting your arm up does not give you a free pass to halt mid-step and put other runners (and yourself) at risk. Every single race I see major collisions. Don't be one of them. You should also aim to be towards the right side. Races follow the rules of the road. 

5. Utilize technology that you love. The options are endless. I use either the Gym Boss timer or Run Keeper. Both have served me well over the years. Jeff Galloway has his own app. You can pretty much set intervals on any device. Play around with a few and use what works for you. But for the love of everyone racing, TURN OFF THE BEEPING on race day! Hahaha! All you hear is that beep for miles and miles. Use the vibrate feature on your Gym Boss! 

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram to see these tips in action! Happy Friday!

Friday, July 24, 2020

Friday Five: 5 Favorite Wine & Dine Moments

It's Friday, why not do a Flashback Friday/Friday Five all rolled into one! With the announcement of Wine and Dine being turned virtual, it had me thinking of my favorite Wine and Dine moments. Even though I've only run this race 3 times, it still holds the top spot for me in runDisney events. Food, Wine, a small race, and always a great theme, Wine and Dine never disappoints (okay, well never until now--sad face!).

1. The infamous "Splash and Dash, 2015"
Every race has a story, and this one was FULL of rain. It was still a night race at the time, and right around 9:00 (for a 10:00 start) the rain started slowly. Not bad, but it held out for the big 10:00 start! It poured the entire 2 hours I was running. Huge puddles where water would come over the top of your socks into your shoes. It was SO MUCH FUN! 


2. Closing the after party in 2015
After the Splash and Dash, there were lots of runners that headed home, but since we had previously skipped the after party, we threw on some ponchos and rallied! We ate, drank, rode rides a million times, and closed down the party with Spaceship Earth one last time as they shut down the park at 4:00 am. Little did we know this would be our last night race, and I'm definitely glad we partied hard!


3. The last Coast to Coast, 2017
We had done the Coast to Coast Challenge many times, so it actually didn't even occur to me that I'd be earning the 10th anniversary medal at Wine and Dine. Also, sadly, this was the last Coast to Coast. I'm hopeful that someday we'll see Disneyland races again, but until then, this may be my favorite. The classic design, but given some weight (quite literally) as they increased the size to celebrate the anniversary of the challenge. 


4. Our gender reveal in 2017
Okay, so not actually part of the race, but part of the race weekend! We decided to keep the tradition alive and planned our gender reveal in Disney World. We had the results in an envelope, found a ballon-selling cast member, and she revealed the gender with a surprize blue balloon! It was a great way to add some Disney magic to Ryan's pregnancy. This weekend was also his last half marathon before coming into the world in March, 2018.


5. The parties!
Wine and Dine is the BEST for parties! Depending on when your race-cation falls, you can usually book a Halloween party or a Christmas party. Plan it right and you can do both! We've done both during different years, and it's always a fun addition to our vacation. 


For those of you who have not yet run this event, don't give up! I know we'll all be back soon, running together again! Continue to train, run it virutally (even if you don't get the medal), and enjoy the journey of running. I know I'll be back someday to my favorite race! 

Monday, July 20, 2020

A Tale As Old As (a proof of) Time

Once upon a time, a new mommy ran a few races in Disneyland. This new mommy had mom-brain, and forgot to enter proofs of time for herself and her husband. They both ended up in the last corral for the Disneyland Half Marathon and lived to tell the tale. Here's what they learned:

You will survive without a proof of time! Seriously. If you are a slower runner, yes, a better corral gives you a buffer time, but train for the recommended 15 minute per mile pace (did you read that on the runDisney website...it's there) and you'll be okay. You even can buy yourself a few minutes just by getting to the front of whatever corral you end up in.

The party is definitely in the back! Seriously. I've been in corral A. It's quiet. It's serious. There are few costumes. It's intimidating. The back of the pack is social. It's where all the stories are; you know, the ones that make you tear up and inspire you at your darkest moment. It's where the costumes are. It's where you're never alone. The best part is it's also where lots of first-timers hang. These runners are often scared, nervous, and have no idea what to expect. Imagine giving that person a few words of encouragement--that alone is worth the bottlenecking on the course!

You can play a fun game of chase. What? Yep, when I'm feeling tired or sluggish, I like to chase some fellow runners. I sprint (ish) past a person. I try to keep up with someone ahead. If you think that the back of the pack is all walkers, think again! It is everyone, and you can totally challenge your pace with other runners.

With the new requirements (<2:30 half, <5:00 full) and Covid cancelling almost every road race, you will be in good company. There's heavy stuff going on in our world; don't let not having a proof of time be the thing that stresses you out. Stop for the pictures if you have time, or take a selfie if you don't. Don't worry about that PR. Just remember how lucky we are to all be back running together in the most magical place on Earth, and you too will live happily ever after!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Rolling for Recovery

Do you roll? I know I think about it, I say I'm going to, and then, well, let's just say my roller spends more time as a sword in the playroom than as a recovery device. I should do it, and I'm trying to make it more of a regular habit. 

If you're new to foam rolling, there are some key concepts to keep you safe and make the rolling most effective for your recovery. 

First, what is it for and why do we do it? Not to get too nerdy on you, foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release. Fancy sounding, but it's basically targeting the tissue that weaves through and around your muscles and bones. It's the same concept as massage therapy, but you are using these tools (roller, ball, stick, etc.) so you can do it yourself. Studies show that this can help after workouts to reduce soreness, increase flexibility, and decrease recovery time. Less known, though, is that this is also great as a warmup/pre-workout routine to increase bloodflow to the muscles. 


Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Roll and move around each area for 15-60 seconds, keeping your tool moving slowly and not stopping in any one place.

2. Never roll over joints, like your shoulder and knee. Do your lower leg, then move to the upper leg, skipping the knee completely, for example. 

3. Rolling is great for soreness. Rolling is NOT great for injured areas. If you have an injury, like a stabbing pain or a significant strain, don't roll on that area. Wait for some healing to happen, then you can add rolling back into your routine for injury prevention and health in that area. (By the way, the same applies to stretching--don't over stretch an injury; more is not better).
4. Start with short sessions, then increase as your body adapts. If you are really tight, it's going to hurt. The more you work through the tightness, the longer you will be able to roll. I admit, when I roll my calves I still cannot put all my weight on the roller and can't go for long. It's definitely a work in progress.

5. Do both sides! Maybe you have a nagging injury that comes back if you don't take good care of yourself (ahem, my knees...). Even though your right side may be your achy side, don't neglect the left. I've learned the hard way that imbalances often lead to new injuries. 

Five tips is a nice round number, so we'll leave it at that for now! I've been toying around with making some videos. Maybe an instructional foam rolling video needs to happen! 

What other questions do you have? 

A note about my certification: I was certified by the company "Trigger Point" for group fitness foam rolling techniques. They have now merged training with the "Rock Tape" company. I definitely want to continue exploring this area!


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

I just needed a moment...

Last week was rough in my world, as it was in so many of yours. Did anyone else just need a moment? I was not blind to the very real possibility that the New York City Marathon would be cancelled. I was not prepared for the tears. Not because of the race, but because it was just one more thing.

Here in New York, gyms have no reopening date. I realize for many, this is just an "adjust course" type of thing, but the gym is also my place of employment. No, I don't pay my mortgage with that money, but I do contribute to my household, and with Bill also out of work, we need to be back at work in whatever capacities possible. 

The cancellation of New York also means the likelihood of Wine and Dine happening is getting smaller and smaller. I won't give up all hope until they make the official call, but the writing is on the wall. I keep telling myself: they will make the field smaller, they will allow deferrals, it's already the smallest race, it's all the way in November. We have all of our plans done. We will probably go anyway just to get away (unless we are still in quarantine on either end). I'm changing course as to why we were going and running all the races (clearly 40 races won't be happening with fall being cancelled). I'm just sitting here, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Then there's the whole training thing. I had penciled in my plan a few weeks ago. I'm supposed to start today. I haven't even wrapped my head around rewriting 6 months of plans, let alone letting go of the A race marathon that was supposed to be my easy slide into the Dopey Challenge. Now, I have to figure out how I'm doing Dopey. 

So, if you need a moment, take it! Hopefully I'll be back soon with new plans, new races on the calendar, and feeling hopeful again for the future world, post-quarantine!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Tips to Create Your Own Training Plan

I totally get it! Not everyone is ready or able to invest in a running coach (but if you are, I happen to know of a GREAT one, cough cough). When you've got your registration, the next thing that usually comes to mind is, "Oh crap, I have to train for this thing!" At least, I hope you are starting to think about training.

Coach Google has TONS of free training plans. runDisney has official training plans. If you're new, though, where do you even begin? What happens if you miss a run? What if you want to start training early? Help! Don't worry, I got you!

The insipration of this post came from many questions in all the runDisney groups, followed by some really good and REALLY bad advice. If you're new and asking those questions, I think it's safe to say that you probably don't know which is which. Oh, and by the way, that's OKAY! We were all new once, and you learn by asking, doing, asking again, reading, watching, and experimenting. Before you know it, you'll be dishing out advice (and hopefully it'll be the good kind)! 

Tip #1: Work backwards from the race date.
I'm a total paper/pencil planner type, so I will print calendars, work backwards, and design my plan from end to beginning. 

Tip #2: Add in holidays, special events, travel, or other races. 
After putting those on top of the plan, you likely will have to move things around. This is where it gets a little tricky. You really need to be sure you give yourself enough rest, especially in the taper weeks leading up to race day. You also don't want to increase your weekly mileage by too much. A good rule of thumb is to increase by no more than 10% in a week. 

Tip #3: If your plan doesn't start yet, build a base!
I see this the most--people have no idea what to do when the plan they have chosen doesn't start yet. I've seen some crazy suggestions out there! Here's my simple formula for base building: take the number of days per week you will run during the training plan, and work up to that number of days. Don't worry about mileage. This is also when you can add some speed training to help your pace. 

Tip #4: Be flexible, but don't try to "make up" your runs.
Life happens. Accept that some runs just won't get done. The worst thing you can do is try to double up or make up those runs. Like Elsa, just let it go! It's the overall commitment and quality of your training that will get you to the finish, not any one, single run.

Tip #5: Stay the course.
You may be tempted to see another plan, see another runner's posts, Google again, or just wing it and want to change things up. Plans are designed with purpose and build systematically. Stick with your plan. Don't bounce around. If you follow the plan, you will be successful! 

Best of luck on your training! 

Don't know where to start? Here are some links to get you going:
Hal Higdon plans: https://www.halhigdon.com/