Monday, February 28, 2011

Frederick Half Marathon Training Plan

Day one of my new training cycle got off to a rough start this morning. I went to bed last night at 10 p.m. anticipating my 4:30 a.m. wake-up call, but instead of easily falling to sleep, I tossed and turned and didn't sleep a wink until 1:30 a.m.

At that point, I decided there was just no way a run at 4:30 a.m. was going to happen. So yes, it's the first day of a new training cycle and I've already skipped a run. Major fail.

I'll make the run up tomorrow, and chalk up my terrible sleep to a fun weekend that completely threw my normal sleep schedule out of whack.

Here's a glimpse at the rest of my training plan.

training plan

This is another one of my customized training plans, based loosely off Hal Higdon's intermediate half marathon plan.


Training plan highlights:
  • Two days of strength training and one day of yoga
  • Three days with two-a-days
  • Speedwork on Wednesdays
  • An extra run day on Fridays that can be swapped for cross-training or rest as needed.

I'm hoping that by upping my mileage and getting back to dedicated speedwork, I'll start to see a drop in my times. I'm also hoping that the extra emphasis on cross-training will help me avoid injury.

How many days of cross-training do you work into a training plan? This is one of my first plans where I have several workouts dedicated to something other than running.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Registered for the Frederick Half Marathon

The other day I registered for the Frederick half marathon after hearing that lots of you were running it and after deciding it was pretty much the perfect spring race.

Plus, a few of my in-real-life friends are running it too, so it's guaranteed to be a good time.

After two weeks of rest, relaxation, indulging in lots of chocolate and Girl Scout cookies, I'm looking forward to diving back into training.

I'll be putting together my training plan this weekend and I plan to use a hybrid of several previous training plans. Specifically, I plan to blend the cross-training I did in my last training cycle, with the speedwork I did when training for the Philly half.

For once, I really saw the benefits of cross-training. I felt like I was getting stronger and the additional strength helped me fatigue less quickly.

And when it comes to speed, I just miss running fast. I haven't done a true interval workout since the summer and my paces definitely reflect that. It's time to get back on the speed training wagon.

In the end, I expect my plan to include two to three days of short runs, two days of strength training, a day of yoga, and a long run. I will most likely double up on workouts at least once a week so I can have at least one day of pure rest.

I'm hoping this plan will get me in great shape for the race so I can finish faster than I did last year. I'll post the plan once it's all finished!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Shedding For the Wedding Review

I watched Shedding for the Wedding last night just because I had to check it out. It's a new weight-loss reality show on the CW by the makers of the Biggest Loser. The premise is that nine couples are trying to lose weight before their wedding and the winning team will win their dream wedding.

What I liked:

The show was only an hour. I think BL is way too long at two hours each week, and I thought Shedding did a great job of fitting in the important stuff into an hour.

The combination of weight loss and wedding planning. I'm a sucker for shows like Say Yes To The Dress and the Biggest Loser, so I'm thinking a hybrid of the two has some potential.

The male trainer was smoking hot (he's a former soccer player from London, doesn't that say it all), but the female trainer was just so-so. In the first episode she didn't prove herself to be anything like a Jillian or a Cara, but I saw elements of Bob in the male trainer. He was motivating and friendly, but still kicked people's butts.

Some of the couples were really cute, and it was hilarious hearing their different wedding themes. Seriously, one couple wants a beer pong table at their wedding because their theme is "Greek Week" and another couple wants to somehow incorporate their characters from some video game they play.

The way couples are eliminated. Based on percentage of weight loss, the two couples at the bottom compete in an elimination challenge. The couple that loses gets eliminated. I almost like that a little bit more than the BL version of voting people off. It was a nice twist, plus it eliminated the sappy drama of people crying over who their voting off and saying what a great person the eliminated player really is and blah, blah, blah. Shedding definitely gets the elimination portion right. I actually think it was the strongest part of the show.


What I didn't like:
The host of the show could use some work. At times I felt like she was trying to be Ali Sweeney, but just wasn't succeeding. During the weigh-ins when she would say, "Your combine total weight is..." I was just waiting for Ali to pop out from somewhere and handle a weigh-in properly. The Shedding host was a little lackluster. Even during the challenge, she didn't get excited.

The weigh-in set was just a little too similar to BL for my liking. Big scales, a board where contestants are separated by red and green to show who is up for elimination. It just didn't seem very original.

Overall though, I thought the show was kind of cute, and I liked the wedding twist. Some of the couples were very endearing, and I'm tempted to keep watching just to see how they do. The first episode spent a lot of time introducing the audience to the couples, so now that we have some of that background, I'm interested to see how the producers use the extra time. Will they focus more on wedding planning or weight loss? I can't say that I will tune in religiously, but I might catch an episode here or there if I have time.

Did anyone else watch Shedding for the Wedding? What did you think of it?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Relationship Between Food and Training

Why is it that on days I don't work out I always want to pig out on not-so-healthy food, but on days when I work out, I tend to crave healthier things?

That just seems so strange to me, but it's definitely been the trend this week as I embrace my laid back recovery period.

And when I say I'm embracing this recovery period, I totally am and I'm not feeling a lick of guilt. In fact, I may have made an emergency chocolate run yesterday to get myself some delicious Cadbury mini eggs, just because I was in the mood and I could.

It's just funny to me that during training, I tend to be much more hungry, but I gravitate toward healthier food. When I'm not training, my body craves sweets and other less-healthy fare.

Does that happen to any one else?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Post-Race Recovery Time

One of the best parts about training for and completing a race is the rest time that comes afterward. The two weeks post race are some of my favorite because they are so laid back.

I don't feel like I have to do a certain number of runs per week.

I don't feel like I have to do much of anything but let my legs recover.

But after just a few days of rest, my legs and my mind are usually itching for a run.

That first run after a race tends to be so carefree. I don't have to run for a certain time or a certain distance. I don't have to kill myself to go a certain pace. I just run.

I'm currently in the start of my second week post race. So far I've run once and I'm perfectly OK with that. These two weeks are important for me to recharge my batteries and avoid burnout.

A new training cycle will kick off in early March, but until then, I'm firmly in recovery mode.

How long is your recovery period between training cycles? How do you avoid burnout in your training?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy Presidents' Day!

As an employee of Uncle Sam, I have today off, and while I spent the rest of the weekend relaxing, I'm going to be spending today catching up on all sorts of errands.

Before I'm off to start my day, I just wanted to thank everyone for their input on which race I should do this spring. It sounds like a bunch of people are running the Frederick half marathon so I'm going to too. I haven't registered yet, but I will be the end of the week.

I'm still leaving the option open to run the Maryland half as well, but since it looks like the Maryland half doesn't have a price increase any time soon, I don't have to make an immediate decision on that one.

Thanks for helping me make a decision!

Update: Matt has asked that I update this post to let you know that he went for a short run with me this weekend. His office is running a pedometer challenge and he wanted to get some extra steps, so we went out for a short walk/run around the lake where he lives. There were wind gusts of 40 mph on Saturday that made for quite an experience. I don't think I've ever been so tired after a 2.5 mile run. At one point on a very wide open stretch of the path the wind was blowing so hard off the lake that Matt almost fell over and I got blown clear off the path and down the hill. It was kind of hilarious, trying to run forward, but not being able to control where I was going. We were laughing hysterically, but were quite happy when we made it back into the cover of the trees. The rest of the run/walk went much better.

I hope you have a happy Monday, whether or not you have the day off!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Picking a Spring Race

It's funny how minutes after I cross the finish line of a race, I'm already thinking about what race is next.

Part of me is so ready to dive back into training with an increased vigor and part of me is looking forward to relaxing.

But 100% of me is ready to pick out a new race.

There are two local races in May that look like good possibilities for a spring race.

One is the Frederick Half Marathon on May 7th. I ran Frederick last year and set a PR on the course even though there were some hills. Last year it was an abnormally hot day of the year, but I still had a really great time doing the race. Plus this year I have a few friends who are thinking about doing it too.

The other race I'm looking at is the Maryland Half Marathon which is about five minutes from Matt's house. It's a race I've never done before, but the course doesn't look that thrilling. But still, I don't know if I'll ever have the possibility of a race this close to home again.

The races are a week apart and I'm actually kicking around the idea of doing them both.

Stupid or totally awesome? You tell me.

I haven't registered for either yet, and I still have some time to decide, but Frederick's prices increase at the end of February so I'd like to make a decision sort of soon.

So Frederick, Maryland or both? What do you think?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Working Out With Short Hair

Nothing drives me crazier than having my hair hang in my face when I'm working out. With long hair, it's easy enough to slick it back into a ponytail to keep it out of the way.

When my hair was this long I never had a problem:

Very long hair

But now my hair is this long:

New haircut

When I rock the short bob, my hair doesn't nicely pull back into a ponytail so I have to get a little bit creative.

Here are just a few of the things I've tried to keep my hair out of my face.

Half ponytail: Sometimes I can coerce the front part of my hair to go back into a short stubby ponytail. Then I can throw a headband on to keep the fly aways in place. It's not the most stylin' look, but in this case functionality wins.

Pigtails: This is usually my go-to look with short hair. Pigtails let me get the maximum amount of hair off my face. Plus pigtails are really stinkin' cute, even when you're older than five.

Headbands: Sometimes headbands or bandannas can do the job on their own without any sort of ponytail holder. I don't tend to have the best luck with this method because the headbands slide off my head. But for some people with short hair it works really well. My favorite "headband" is pre-wrap. You buy it at a sporting good store, tear a bit off the roll, knot it and slip it in. It works perfectly and never slides off my head.

How do you keep your hair off your face when you're working out?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: NOLA edition

Creepy looking jester
Creepy looking jester

Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street

Fiery fountain at Pat O'Briens
Fiery fountain at Pat O'Briens

This sign was all over the French Quarter
This sign was all over the French Quarter

Eating a beignet
Eating a beignet, getting powdered sugar everywhere

Matt and Jess
Matt and I sitting near the Mississippi River

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New Orleans Half Marathon Course Review

Matt and I safely made it home late last night after an interesting travel day. TSA searched my luggage because they thought the Stick was some sort of weapon. Matt got body scanned, and our pilot got a round of applause after landing the plane safely in 40 mph wind gusts.

Suffice it to say, I'm happy to be home and happy to be looking back on a great race.

I think part of the reason I had such a great race in New Orleans is because of how well the race was run.

For a race that's only in its second year, I have very few complaints and tons of good things to say.

The Good:

The expo: Matt and I went to the expo on Friday and were happy to find it fairly empty. We got to take time without being rushed or waiting in long lines.


Brooks gait analysis: At the expo, Brooks had treadmills set up with cameras on the back to record you running. Matt and I both tried it out and got some interesting insight into our running bio-mechanics. I think this feature will be at other Rock N Roll events during the year.

Plenty of porta-potties: Lines were long, but they moved at the race start. I also noticed tons of porta-potties on the course.

Well-stocked aid stations: Tons of volunteers and more than enough water and Cytomax at each one. Also very well spaced on the course.

Awesome organization: The race director had his act together. The start moved smoothly and quickly. No delay getting corrals across the start line. Mile markers were well marked and the split for the full and the half was too.

The course: Flat as a pancake.

Crowd control: Even though there were thousands and thousands of people running this race, the corrals did their job and prevented people from bunching. I always had plenty of room to run even when the roads narrowed a bit on parts of the course.

The Not So Good:

Street conditions: People say PA has bad streets but they haven't seen a thing if they haven't seen the streets in NOLA. Lots of patched potholes and cracked roads made for some rocky footing at times.

Crowd support: It was very, very minimal in some areas and most of the crowds were quiet except at the finish line. This didn't bother me a ton, but I know for some people lack of crowd support is a big deal, so I wanted to at least note it.

Mile one: This was my least favorite mile of the course. You go through a really ugly industrial area with not much to look at. It was just really blah compared to the rest of the course.

This was one of my favorite races to run and I would definitely do it again if it wasn't quite so far from home. The street conditions were definitely annoying, but I didn't have any major issues other than having to pay closer attention to where I was stepping. This race gets my ringing endorsement. If you're looking for something fast and flat, with moderate temperatures, this is your race.

Giveaway winner:

 The winner of the Stonyfield yogurt and organic make up set is Jason. Please send me an e-mail (jess@jessruns.com) by Wednesday afternoon with the address you'd like your prize shipped to.

Monday, February 14, 2011

New Orleans Half Marathon Race Recap

As I sit here writing this race recap, I am feeling fat and happy.

Good New Orleans food will do that to you.

So will a kick ass half marathon.

I was nervous going in to this race. I kept freaking out that I would experience stabbing pain in my knee and that I would have to hobble to the nearest medical tent and ride the sag wagon to the finish line.

No fun medal on Mardi Gras beads.

And a horribly heartbreaking DNF.

Having all that negativity swimming around in my head was probably not the best for my mental game going in to the race.

But come race morning, I got up, got dressed, ate a Clif bar and started the 1.5 mile walk from the hotel to the start line. I had just enough time to use the porta-potty before heading in to my corral.

Start area of New Orleans half

Corral 6

Before I knew it the race was starting.

Waiting for the start

Unfortunately for me, Garmin died right as I was starting. It must have turned on in my luggage and drained on the flight. Rookie mistake to not check the battery the night before.

But the dead battery might have been the best thing that happened. I was forced to run just by feel.

I started at a comfortable pace and managed to maintain an even effort throughout the race. I took walk breaks when I needed them, usually around the water stops. I'd drink my water, walk to the end of the shoot and pick up a steady pace again.

Somewhere just after mile 5, I could feel my left hip starting to tighten, so I pulled over to the side and stretched for a few seconds. Then it was back to steady running.

The miles were passing steadily from 7 to 8 and 9.

As I approached mile 10 still feeling strong, I knew I was in the home stretch.

The last 5K was a straight shot from the French Quarter to the finish line in City Park. No turns, just a straight stretch of road with mile markers and a few water stops.

I was truly shocked by how strong I still felt as I approached mile 11. And then my favorite "dig deep and gut it out song" came on my iPod: Eminem's Lose Yourself.

It has the perfect steady beat for running and nothing gets me pumped more late in a race than that song. I drew some last bits of motivation and pushed on.

Around mile 11.5 my right quad seized up. I pulled over to the side and stretched again, which really seemed to help.

With just about a mile and a half of the race left, I knew it was time to gut it out. My legs were starting to feel the lack of training. My quads were tightening, my hamstrings weren't happy. I was tired and the blisters that formed on my toes somewhere around mile 8 were making each step a bit painful.

But I was so close.

I kept a really strong pace for the last bit of the race and crossed the finish line smiling ear to ear.

I had absolutely no idea what my time was and it was driving me nuts. I finished feeling so strong and I was dying to know how I did.

Eventually after Matt and I met up in the reunion area, we got the live tracking results on Matt's phone.

Official race time: 2:10:25.

I couldn't be happier. I didn't have a time goal. I didn't have Garmin to run with. I wasn't well trained. Heck, I wasn't even sure if my knee would cooperate enough to let me finish.

With my medal

But I ran a great race yesterday. I ran by feel and I listened to my legs and did what they wanted. They rewarded me with a time that's only about two and a half minutes off my PR.

Pretty much, it was a perfect race.

(Since this race recap is already pretty long, I'm going to save my review of the course, logistics, etc. for tomorrow. I'll also announce the winner of the Stonyfield giveaway tomorrow.)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Stonyfield Yogurt Review and Giveaway

I love yogurt and have been eating it since I was a little kid.


It started with Yoplait custard style yogurts when I was little because fruit on the bottom used to gross me out. I remember coming home from school and peeling off the wrapper of a Yoplait and devouring the smooth yogurt in seconds.

In college, I still ate yogurt but because I was more health conscious, I would look for the yogurts with the lowest calories. Little did I know at the time, that often meant they were full of chemical sweeteners. I remember trying a Dannon one time after they did something to get the calorie count from 100+ to 80 or 60, and it made me gag it tasted so badly of chemicals.

I haven't eaten Dannon since, but I would still bounce back and forth between other brands of fat-free yogurt just depending what was on sale, until the Greek yogurt craze started to take off.

(Source)

I was slower jumping in that bandwagon because Greek yogurt is so different from normal yogurt, but now I eat Greek yogurt almost exclusively.

However, when Stonyfield offered me coupons to sample their fat free organic yogurt (non-Greek style), I was willing to give it a try. I liked the idea of eating organic, plus, Stonyfield's fat free yogurt doesn't contain any chemical sweeteners. That was a big seller in my book.


I tried two flavors, SuperFruits (which contains pomegranate, rasperry and acai) and Chocolate Underground. I liked the light, fruity flavors in SuperFruits, but the chocolate was definitely my favorite. It was just the right amount of sweet for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. I added two small scoops of peanut butter to add an extra bit of protein and the chocolate/peanut butter combination was perfect.

While for the most part, I will probably still choose Greek yogurt, I like knowing there's an option for non-Greek style yogurt that is good for me and still tasty.

GIVEAWAY TIME:
To help promote the new look and feel of their fat-free, organic yogurts, Stonyfield has offered to give away some free yogurts and an organic makeup set to one lucky winner. (Fellas, feel free to enter to win the yogurt, you can always give the makeup to a lady friend!)

To enter, just leave a comment below telling me your favorite brand and flavor of yogurt. I'll pick a winner next week when I get back from vacation.

The Stonyfield coupons are only valid at U.S. stores. Apologies to my international readers!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Orleans Half Marathon Race Goals

I hinted at my race goals a little bit on Monday when I talked about my more relaxed approach to my training for this race.

The New Orleans half marathon is built around a mini-vacation to the city, where I plan to have lots of fun, eat lots of good food and experience all the city has to offer.

Because of that vacation mindset, I'm not setting a single time goal for this race.

Sure I'd love to not have it be a personal worst, but if it ends up that way, I'll be OK with it.

My goal for this race is to simply start strong and cross the finish line (hopefully still feeling strong).

I'm also hoping I'll be able to finish the race without any IT band problems. I have to say though, I'm very nervous that they might crop up. I can't exactly fit my foam roller in my carry-on, but I plan to pack the Stick so I can roll any tightness out before the race.

And with that I am off. My flight leaves this afternoon and I'll be spending the next few days enjoying the (slightly) warmer weather in the South. I won't leave you hanging while I'm gone though, in fact tomorrow I have a fun review and giveaway, so make sure to check back!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Barefoot Running Chronicles: Back Outside

We've had a little bit of a warmer spell here and I was finally able to run outside again in my FiveFingers. I set a distance record for my FiveFingers and realized running outside is much different than running on treadmill in the Vibrams.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

How to Fly to a Race Stress Free

I've traveled to several races over the course of my running career, but none that have required air travel.

When I drive to a race, I can just throw stuff in a duffel bag in the trunk of my car and hit the road. Flying to New Orleans this week is going to be a whole different beast and will require a higher level of planning.

Here are my tips for make packing a little less stressful and to ensure I don't end up in NOLA without my sneakers.

Make a list.
This might seem a little obvious, but when I'm racing there are a ton of things I need, from Garmin to my iFtiness belt to socks and a sports bra. I'd rather not leave Garmin sitting on the charger in D.C., so making a list of all the items I need both for racing and for the trip in general makes sure they all end up in my bag.


Pack your sneakers in your carry-on.
If you're flying to a race, I recommend using nothing but a carry-on, but I know that can be unrealistic if you're going on a longer trip. At a minimum, you should make sure all the stuff you need for race day is in your carry-on. That way if the airline loses your regular luggage, you're not scrambling at the race site to buy new shoes and an entirely new race outfit.


Print out any confirmation papers at home.
Lots of races these days require you to bring some sort of confirmation sheet to the expo to pick up your bib and race number. Print this off at home and pack it in your carry on. Keep it with other important papers you need for the trip, like your hotel confirmation, your boarding passes, etc.


Remember the liquids rule.
TSA will only let you carry a small amount of liquid onto the plane, and since "gel-like-substances" count as liquids, you'll want to make sure to pack any gels or other race day fuel in the clear plastic bag you're allowed to have in your carry-on. I once had a TSA agent tell me I couldn't carry a pudding through security so I will be interested to see whether or not they allow my GUs. If the TSA takes them, gels are easily replaceable at the expo.


Don't stress out as much as me.
Flying and all the logistics involved stress me out. Getting to the airport super early, dealing with security lines and body scans and what can and can't be in your luggage, it all gives me a headache. But I'm trying to not stress out about it too much. If I can attempt to mellow out, you can too! Remember you're about to go on a fun vacation, run a fun race and have a good time. Focus on that and not the airport headaches.

What are your best tips for flying to a race?

Monday, February 07, 2011

Training Cycle in Review

With only a few days to go until my race, it's time to take a look back at my current training cycle.

Going in, I had planned to run this race just for fun, but I still set an ambitious training plan for myself.

After about two weeks of running on that plan, I pretty much had to scrap the whole thing because of my knee and IT band problems.

The original plan was four runs per week, two days of strength training and a day of yoga.

Actual training was two to three days of running per week, two days of strength training and yoga about every other week. It wasn't a terrible training cycle, but it wasn't my best.

My knee has still been acting up off and on. Last week's 10 miler was awesome, but this week's six miler was absolutely terrible.

I had hoped to have my long runs peak at 15 miles but because of my knee and IT band, my longest run was 10.

I'm confident I'll be able to finish the race, as long as my knee plays nice. I just know it won't be my best time. It may even be a personal worst because I'm on vacation in New Orleans and plan to take advantage of all the city has to offer.

I'm totally OK with that. This race is for fun. This training cycle was far from perfect. I just want to get my sweet medal hanging on Mardi Gras beads.

mardi_gras_2010_marathon_large-300x224

Friday, February 04, 2011

Think Warm Thoughts

There comes a time every winter where I just can't take it anymore. I can't take the cold or the snow or the biting wind. I can't take the short days and complete lack of sunshine.

And right now, it's about that time.

I crave summer and sunshine and I'm fantasizing about wearing flip-flops and sitting by the pool sipping fruity drinks.

100_0329

I blast country music in my car, wishing I could ride with the windows down and feel the summer air blowing my face.

I'm at the point where the thought of one more run in the freezing cold makes me want to turn to the treadmill because at least on the treadmill I can wear shorts.

At this time last year, I was down in Orlando waiting to hop on a cruise ship setting sail for the Caribbean, where I got to bask in the glow of the warm sunshine for a week.

DSC03138

100_0374

Boy do I miss that right about now!

Two days ago we had slightly warmer temps, somewhere up in the 50's and it was a glorious break from winter. But then yesterday we were plunged back into normal February temperatures with a biting wind and cold, dry air.

The groundhog didn't see his shadow; that means spring will be here soon right?

I hope so because I can't take much more of this winter stuff.

If you see me staring off into space, I'm probably picturing myself on a tropical beach somewhere.

Who's with me?

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Fitness Metrics Part Three: Analysis

The beginning of a new month is the perfect time to analyze your fitness metrics to gauge your progress.

In Part Three of the Fitness Metrics series, we're going to look at how to use all the data we've been tracking to improve our training and overall fitness.

If you missed parts one and two of the fitness metric series, check them out first:
Part One: Gathering Data
Part Two: Tracking the Data

Analyzing data and making incremental changes is just one easy way to bring you closer to your overall fitness goals. With that in mind, let's take a look at a simple way to analyze your data.



Set Aside Time To Review Data:
The first step in analyzing your fitness metrics is to set aside some time (the amount will vary depending on how much data you've been collecting) where you can sit down and look at all your numbers. Dedicate time to do this within the first week of a new month if possible, so you can begin making any tweaks or changes early and measure their results the following month.

Have All Your Data At Hand:
Make sure you have access to all your fitness data when you sit down to do the review. Open your Daily Mile profile or have easy access to your paper log. If you use more than one tracking system, having them all in front of you will make your analysis process much smoother.

Compare the Data:
When you're looking at the data, you need something to compare it to in order to determine if you've made any progress. So for example, if your goal is to decrease your 5K time, look at the times from your runs throughout the month and see if you are getting progressively closer to that goal. If you're hoping to see a drop in body fat percentage, look at the numbers you've been tracking and see if they are moving in the right direction. It's also helpful to compare your current numbers to data from previous months to see if you're making progress over a longer course of time. You might have a bad week throw of your data for a certain month, but looking at your trends over time will help determine if you're in general on the right path.

Make Changes:
Finally, the most important step in the analysis process is determining what change you need to make to your routine to meet your goals. If you want to decrease your 5K time, but you aren't seeing the change you want, maybe you need to add a speed work session to your training plan. Maybe your realize you've only been getting five hours of sleep each night, so for the next month you commit to get seven. Having all your data at hand let's you make changes based on the numbers, the results you're currently getting and the goals you'd ultimately like to achieve.



Once you implement any changes to your training plan you'll want to go back through the entire fitness metrics process each month. Track those new changes and analyze your performance the following month.

By looking at the data you'll be able to make sound training decisions to get you closer to your goals.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Barefoot Running and the Accent Vlog

It's time for another edition of the Barefoot Running Chronicles. In today's video I take the Vibram FiveFingers for a run on the treadmill and compare it to my experiences running on a treadmill in normal sneakers.

Check it out!




And because I got a couple comments on my last video post about how my accent was different than people expected, I decided I'd jump on the "Accent Vlog" bandwagon and post a fun video showing off my accent.

Can you detect the hints of Philly mixed in the with east coast twang? Matt says my Philly is most noticeable when I'm frustrated or angry, so it might not be super evident in this video.



If you wanted to follow along, here is the list of words/questions for The Accent Vlog: Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped
body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry
groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

So do I sound like you expect?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Bikram Yoga is Hot

After a busy day at the office yesterday, dealing with meetings, computer problems, a massive paper jam in the printer and some other chaos, I was really looking forward trying Bikram yoga for the first time with Erin.

I was nervous, but also kind of excited. I wasn't sure how I would hold up in the 105 degree heat for 90 minutes, but I had spent the day chugging water to make sure I was hydrated.

Walking in to the heated room felt nice after being out in the cold winter air, but as we were sitting there waiting for class to start I was getting warmer and warmer.

For those unfamiliar with Bikram yoga, it's a series of 26 poses repeated twice. It's the same exact thing ever week and it's done in a heated room with the lights on. It's not set to music or soothing like you would think of a traditional yoga class. And it doesn't flow gently from one pose to another. You do one pose, then do it again and then move to a new pose. It's extremely rigorous.

That was really different for me. The school of yoga I am trained in is flow-style yoga. I'm used to poses moving from one to the next seamlessly and being a little more zen.

But last night I was working so hard to do the poses and not let sweat drip in my eyes, that I couldn't really focus on the lack of flow.

The 90-minute class actually went by fairly quickly and the heat only felt really overwhelming a few times. The most challenging part was dealing with the buckets of sweat. Every time I had to hold my foot in my hand it would slip. Or sweat would drip in my eyes or I would get distracted by the little sweat balls running down my back.

I don't think I've ever sweat that much even on my hottest, most humid summertime runs. Or maybe I have, but on the runs, the sweat evaporates. In Bikram it just sits on your skin.

But despite the heat and the totally new style of yoga, I left the class feeling surprisingly relaxed and calm, like I would leaving any good yoga class.

Unfortunately my zen was completely shattered when I got to the parking lot and realized someone had parked me in. And unfortunately the owner of said car was not in least bit nice about it and yelled at me for parking in "her spot." It was a open lot with no signs, but she yelled anyway and made me wait a long time until she moved it. I finally had to tell her I was going to call a tow truck if she didn't move her car. That got her quite cranky but finally made her move it.

Much thanks to Erin for waiting in the cold with me and helping me deal with the wacko.

So needless to say, the whole night was an experience. In fact that whole day was a experience, and I'm quite happy Monday is over and Tuesday is here.