Tonight I was tempted to skip my triathlon group training run. I practically fell asleep on my way home from work and all I wanted to do was lay on my couch. Even though this feeling was overwhelming, I forced myself out to Central Park and WOW, what a workout.
I’ve been running in the advanced group and this was the first one that really challenged us. If you run in Central Park you probably know and dread Harlem Hills. Well that’s where the bulk of our run took place, at the biggest hill in CP. We ran a 2.5 mile warm up (at an 8:20ish pace) then ran up Harlem Hill 4 times. Each time up we switched up our pace. First one was steady, second we built the speed along the way, third was an all out sprint and fourth was steady. Then we did a 2.5 mile run back to Columbus Circle. If you want to really push yourself, get out and do this run! It ended up being about 6.6 miles.
Tonight really showed me that I can push myself harder while running. I especially felt this when I had my coach running next to me, pushing me along to the top of the hill. I definitely had some flash backs to my High School Track Team days (to give you an idea of those days, a classic quote from our coach was “if you throw up, it means you are working hard enough”).
So moral of the story, even if you feel like laying on your couch, go do your workout and THEN go lay on your couch. You will feel much better and it’s worth the effort. I’m laying on my couch right now and feel like I really earned this relaxtion time, feels fab.
Thought it was time to give you all a lil’ update on my tri training (what I’m doing solo and with my team, Team in Training).
Each week as a member of Team in Training I join other athletes and coaches for group workouts. Tuesday evening runs, Wednesday evening swims and Saturday morning run/bikes (depends on the weather).
So far, the workouts have been pretty easy. The coaches told us that because we start our training so far in advance of the race, the first few weeks are “training to train.” This makes a lot of sense for fitness newbies, but for me, not so much. The first couple of group runs were about 30 minutes and I’d call them moderate, nothing too difficult. I’ve been to a couple of the swim practices and they focus on technique which I need, but after the swim I don’t feel like I worked out. And this past Saturday we had our first bike ride. It was only 40 degrees which in my opinion is way too cold to be biking. Because you don’t really move your hands or a lot of your body while biking, it’s hard to get warmed up. Since we were doing little drills and learning about bike safety and technique, I didn’t ever warm up and I didn’t feel like I worked out afterwards.
As I continue to train, I need to remind myself it’s not all about sweating and feeling sore; it’s important that I learn proper technique for the race. I should focus on the positive things I’m taking away from these practices as opposed to worrying about how many calories I’m burning.
I’m happy to report that I believe this week is the turning point of training and our group sessions are going to become more challenging. Last night we had a hill run in Central Park which included 30+ minutes of just running up and down hills (tough!). This Saturday we’re secheduled to go on a 1.5-2 hour bike ride up to and over the GW Bridge. Even though it will only be about 40 degrees again, I’m really looking forward to it (and plan to wear double the amount of layers I wore on our last ride).
As for training on my own, I haven’t done TOO much specifically geared towards the tri. I’ve been doing my standard 3-4 spin classes per week, plus adding in some yoga and strength training. Hoping to toss in some extra runs (this will be easier once it warms up) and perhaps some swimming (torturous for me).
And lastly, my fundraising! I’ve hit the halfway point and am still looking for any and all donations. If you haven’t donated yet, please check out my page and consider donating to an extremely important cause (ever dollar helps!)
Amanda’s Fundraising Page
Summertime is upon us and after work the last thing many of us want to do is go for a run (hello, it’s happy hour time!). With the help of Lululemon, I have the solution! Perfectly named, the Run From Work Backpack is the perfect accessory to turn your boring commute home from the office into a workout. I live about 3 miles away from work, on a nice day it’s walkable but I also happen to work in one of the most congested parts of the city. What could be a lovely walk home turns into me pushing my way through tourists. Instead, I’ve devised a plan with my new backpack.
I’ll bring my running outfit to work, after I’m done for the day I’ll pack up just the necessities (wallet, keys, phone) and head west from my office to the West Side Highway and run up to the UWS and home. I love that this backpack is small enough that it holds what you need but doesn’t slow down your pace. It’s equipped with double straps to keep it firm against your body. The bag is also ideal for bike riding. I took it along for a 12 mile spin around Central Park earlier this week and it didn’t leave my back sore like other bags might.
Lululemon always delivers with a healthy amount of pockets and this bag is no exception. There is even a secure spot specifically designed my iPad. I’m a fan!
Bright and early at 6:40am my running buddy and I headed out for a 5-mile run in Central Park. We were cruising right along at about an 8:30 per mile pace until mid-way through mile 3 when my running buddy got a stomach cramp, making it hard to breathe. I told her to put her arms above her head as she walked, but let’s be real, I made that advice up. I always do that when I get a cramp, but does that fix the problem? And why did she get a cramp in the first place?
This morning I did a little research:
Some common causes of stomach cramps while running:
- Incorrect breathing (if you’re practicing shallow breathing it may result in a cramp)
- Too much fluid in your stomach (while you should always be well-hydrated, don’t drink too much water before a run)
- Too much food in your stomach (I avoid eating at least 1 hour pre-run)
- Poor levels of sodium, potassium and calcium
So, when a cramp strikes, what should you do?
- Try breathing more deeply from your lower lung.
- Slow your running pace. If you’re running faster than normal, it is likely affecting your breathing and therefore can lead to cramping.
- If your cramp is still present, walk and practice lower lung breathing for 2-4 minutes and see if it passes.
To avoid future cramps, take note of what you eat and drink before a run. Try limiting the amount of food 1-3 hours prior to a run if you are susceptible to cramping. If shallow breathing is the culprit, try taking the first 10 minutes of your run at a slower pace to ease into it, allowing yourself to find a steady breathing rhythm.
More info available at WebMD and Runners World and FitSugar
Photo Credit: lululemon athletica via Flickr
As my triathlon date nears, a little fear starts to set in. To combat it, I got outside for some serious workouts. Saturday I hit up Central Park, tackling the Reservoir Run and the Big Loop, equaling 7.5 miles. It goes by (somewhat) quickly when you’ve got this view:
Sunday I took my bike out for a little joy ride on the West Side Highway. Going right at sunset was a good call:
Yesterday post-work I met up with three friends for a little workout in Central Park (I can’t get over how amazing it is to have the park practically in my backyard). We ran around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir (beautiful!) and then grabbed a spot in the grass for some abs and other exercises. If you need a boost to get you out the door and on a run, finding friends to set a date with is the perfect way to get you motivated.
Can’t wait to do it again!
Team Workout: Me, Michele, Lianna, Carol
Today was an exciting day for me. I signed a lease on a new apartment, meaning I’ll be heading uptown in NYC soon. After four years in the same neighborhood, I’m pumped to explore a new part of the city.
One of the best parts of the new location? How close it is to the glorious CENTRAL PARK! Only 1.5 blocks away, meaning lots of treadmill-less runs are in my future. I’m also close to the West Side Highway, one of my top city spots for bike rides.
It’s the perfect spring-time temperature to head outside for your morning run. For those Manhattan readers, make your way to Central Park and check out the pretty flowers, like these: