May 23: Pre-training for Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon Revisted

What a weekend! In hindsight, I probably did a bit too much so I have given myself a rest day today. On Saturday, my goal was to run 4.5 miles at a 10:15 – 11:30 minute/mile pace and see how my heart rate responded. I included a second zone in the program to run 1 mile at a slightly faster pace if I still had any energy left. Well, after 4.5 miles I felt good, so I ran the mile. After 5.5 miles, I still felt good and pushed myself to run 10 kilometers! I actually beat my 10K race pace and averaged 10:30 minutes per mile *smile* My average heart rate was 176 bpm or 92% of my maximum heart rate; I want it at least 10% lower.

Initially, it was challenging to maintain a steady pace. Even though I gave myself plenty of buffer room, I found myself running faster than 10:15 minute/mile quite often. After a couple of miles, I settled in to the pace, though. After running my own 10K, I ate breakfast and headed to step and sculpt. I enjoy the class too much to miss it. Surprisingly, I still had plenty of energy for my second workout of the day.

Then Sunday morning, I was up bright and early to begin hydrating. After Saturday’s run, I lost 1.4 pounds due to loss of water. I had a slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter, sliced banana, honey and cinnamon for a pre-run snack. After 30 minutes, I laced up and hit the pavement toward the high school track to run 4 X 800m intervals at 9:30 – 10:45 minute/mile pace. Since I am new at training with a heart rate monitor, I like to give myself some leeway in sticking to a pace. After each 800m interval, I walked for 0.2 miles (the watch wouldn’t let me program 0.25 miles). In mentally preparing for the interval training, I wanted to jog in between each interval. I found that I needed real recovery time, so I walked. Maybe next week, I will be able to slow my running pace and not walk during the recovery period.

Late Sunday, I noticed my lower back was rather sore. I wasn’t sure if all the physical activity was the cause or if I overextended my back doing supermans in step and sculpt. I stretched throughout the day and feel much better this morning. I’m usually pretty vigilant about proper form during exercising, but I must be even more mindful in the future. I have a long road ahead in training for this half-marathon. I am not interested in being sidelined with a preventable injury.

Tuesday and Wednesday, I am back to training based on heart rate rather than pace. My goal is to develop enough patience so that I can do three or four days in June using heart rate training. As I practically sprinted around the track, I felts as though I was betraying the process of heart rate training even though learning to maintain a pace for an extended distance is an important part of training for any race. I’m not going to beat myself up too badly; I’m just taking heart rate training one run at a time!

Recap for 1st five days of pre-training:

  1. Wednesday: Ran 38 minutes. Average pace: 13:52 min/mi. Average HR: 144 bpm (75% MHR)
  2. Thursday: 45 minutes in total body tone group fitness class; 15 minutes May 2011 SHAPE abs workout
  3. Friday: 60 minutes in group fitness Pilates; 51 minutes ballet conditioning DVD
  4. Saturday: Ran 66 minutes. Average pace: 10:30 min/mi. Average HR: 176 bpm (92% MHR); 60 minutes step and sculpt group fitness
  5. Sunday: Ran 33 minutes: 4 X 800m intervals, walked 320 m recovery. Average pace per run-walk interval: 11:57 min/mi. Average HR. 166 bpm (86% MHR); May 2011 SHAPE abs workout

I am going to give the long, easy runs on Saturdays another shot next weekend. But I had the most insatiable appetite after running and attending step class. I did well and ate healthy carbohydrates, protein and fats. I really, really, really wanted some ice cream though! If my appetite goes haywire again, then I will just move my long run to Friday mornings and do ballet on Saturday.

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January 17: Fitness medley

About two weeks ago, I tried a spinning class for the first time since it was free. The recreation center concluded their free week of group fitness classes on Sunday. I attended yoga pilates, total body tone, vinyasa flow yoga, and step & sculpt classes. I have enjoyed yoga DVDs for years but never actually attended a class. With the opportunity to try classes for free, I thought I would give it a try. The other classes I chose were just from curiosity since they fit into last week’s schedule best.

I went to both yoga classes with a friend, Kim, who was also interested in yoga. While I’m not afraid to try new things by myself, it definitely helps to have someone join me. Yoga pilates was our first class; we spent 75 minutes doing sun salutations interspersed with other postures. For about 8 minutes, we performed pilates to concentrate on abdominal work. The instructor was really great at explaining proper alignment and what muscles should be felt.

Wednesday night I went to Total Body Tone. The class was way too crowded, which happens when free is combined with college students at 6:15 pm. Using too many contraptions (step, body bar, free weights, and resistance bands), we hit all muscle groups in 45 minutes. While the workout fatigued my muscles, I just didn’t have fun. And what’s the point if I don’t have fun, right?

Thursday found me in vinyasa flow 2 with Kim. It was refreshing to see men in the class; they were athletes whose dance instructor required them to attend at least one yoga class. Again, we spent most of the time doing sun salutations. A different instructor from the one who taught our yoga pilates class, Scott also did a good job explaining postures and modifications; proper alignment; and proper breathing. While I definitely want to attend Scott’s class again, it occurs at the same time as Tai Chi, which I planned to attend weekly with a co-worker.

Saturday morning I found myself in Step & Sculpt. I figured few people would show up at 8:30 on a Saturday; I was wrong. While not as crowded as Total Body Tone, a fair number of women attended. We had plenty of space, however. A young lady I met in the locker room Friday was on the step behind me; she said the instructor was one of her favorites. It took some time for me to learn the intervals, but once I did I began to have a lot more fun. I was drenched with sweat well before the class was half finished. I think that as I attend the class each week, I will do better at following along. It was a great workout that was really fun.

And as I was visiting all these classes this week, I began the aquatic distance challenge. One of my friends who came with me to spinning class agreed to be my swimming buddy for the eight week challenge. Brittany and I swim 1000 yards or 1000 meters (depending on lane availability) twice a week. It takes us about 45 minutes to swim the 40 laps. Well, Brittany swims; I kickboard *smile*. Each time I enter the pool, I practice breathing underwater. I started adding single armstrokes as I kickboard. My goal is to actually swim a few laps of freestyle before the challenge concludes. The last time I tried to swim for exercise, I became tired in the middle of the lane and panicked; that was at least 5 years ago and I’m still traumatized.

I’m really enjoying the variety of workouts. I still do Bob a couple of times a week. According to Loseit.com, I should probably step up my exercising. While I wrote a few weeks ago about my concern of eating too few calories, I went overboard with indulging in pumpkin bread, chocolate chip scones and cinnamon rolls. Tracking my progress makes me more accountable to myself. Seeing new muscles when I brush my teeth or being able to comfortably wear a flattering pair of skinny jeans is encouraging; and I am hopeful that such positives will make me think twice about overindulging in sweets.