Running in the 1st Trimester

In both of my pregnancies, pretty much as soon as I got a positive pregnancy test my running started to change. The reality is that as soon as you have a little one growing inside of you, priorities shift physically- whether you want them to or not- and your body doesn’t always feel like it’s your own anymore. For me, this meant I had to learn about my new body and how to adapt my running as it changed week by week. I know everyone is different, but here is my experience with running during the 1st trimester.

Less mileage. Before my first pregnancy I was actually training for a 50K, so I was running 40-50 miles a week. This time around I wasn’t really training for anything but wanted to keep my options for a fall marathon open in case I didn’t end up getting pregnant, so I was keeping my mileage between 30-35 miles a week. In both pregnancies I cut back on this right away. I just found that my pregnant body feels better maintaining 20-25 miles a week. Anything more than that takes longer for me to recover from and leaves me feeling exhausted. This is my sweet spot for now :)

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You can see my weekly mileage drop once I found out I was pregnant (from Daily Mile)

Slower pace. Almost immediately after becoming pregnant I found it more difficult to keep the same paces I was before pregnancy. I felt sluggish and heavier even though I was in the very early stages of pregnancy and hadn’t really gained much weight yet. I think my body was just working so hard at growing the baby because there is SO much development that happens in the first trimester, that I didn’t have a lot leftover when it came to running. I had enough to get through my runs, but they were definitely at a slower pace- I went from 8:30-9:30/mile to 9:30-11:00/mile (depending on the day) pretty quickly. Also, running slower just feels better on my body after pushing it so hard in training for the last 2 years. I’m welcoming the break, that’s for sure!

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More rest.  Along with less mileage and a slower pace, in the first trimester, I definitely felt that I needed to make sure I took at least 1 rest day a week. Before pregnancy I was doing my summer running streak from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and so I never had a real day off. I continued with this pattern for a few weeks, not running every single day but taking Body Pump on my non-running days, and I couldn’t handle it for very long. I started taking Mondays completely off and it helped a ton. I also noticed that a long run would wipe. me. out. I would feel great while running but then be falling asleep on the couch by mid-afternoon. More rest is definitely necessary in the first tri!

More food. I was VERY hungry in the first trimester, and running made me even hungrier! Even without running, I felt like my metabolism was in overdrive some days as it worked to grow this baby, so on days that I ran I would have to make sure to bulk up my meals a bit and have a lot of snacks on hand. I could go from full to hungry at the drop of a hat and I needed to be prepared. And after a long run, well… I just wanted ALL THE FOOD ALL DAY LONG!!!

More bathroom breaks. The first trimester seems way too early to need too many bathroom breaks, right? The baby is so small, how could it possibly be pushing on your bladder already? This is what I thought with both pregnancies but with both I still seemed to need to go to the bathroom more often. Apparently hormonal changes cause blood to flow more quickly through your kidneys, filling your bladder more often. I always need to make sure to empty my bladder completely once or two times before leaving to run and I always end a short 3-5 miler needing to go again. For long runs, I definitely need to make sure to plan to be near a bathroom about halfway through or else it’s bad news!

Bigger clothes. I definitely found that the comfort of my running increased greatly when I started wearing larger clothes to accommodate my growing body- specifically, the boobs and the waist. Even in the early weeks when I had a lot of belly bloating rather than a real baby bump, I hated the feeling of tight shorts around my midsection. And the boobs- oh the boobs. They hurt so bad and grew so fast. I was wearing my larger sized sports bras and shorts much earlier this time around, and I’m so thankful I did. I feel a lot more supported and I’m no longer chafing in bad places. Nobody wants to squeeze themselves into clothes that are too small and unflattering, especially when you’re newly pregnant and trying to deal with all the changes that come with it. Suck it up and buy the biggest sizes, or even better, maternity workout clothes! I promise you’ll feel SO much better!

Racing for fun. Being pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t participate in races anymore- if anything it makes it even more fun! With both pregnancies, I LOVE the idea of racing with no pressure. Signing up for races keeps me motivated and lets me celebrate the fact that I’m able to run through pregnancy. Last time around I did 9 races over the 9 months, and this time around I’m hoping to do the same.

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Loving life during the Wilson Bridge Half at 8 weeks pregnant!

Running = more energy and less nausea. For me, the hardest part about running in the first trimester was getting out the door. Even though I did feel sluggish on some runs, I knew if I just got out there, I’d feel a lot better afterwards and that’s what kept me motivated. Despite what many people think, running actually gave me more energy and took away my nausea. Most of the time I felt the best that I did all day when I was running.

More aches and pains. For some people, running in the first trimester can come with some aches and pains. In my first pregnancy, I would sometimes feel some achiness down below after a longer run. It didn’t happen quite as much this time, but I have felt it. My doctor has said this is most likely round ligament pain, which are the ligaments that hold up the uterus. Sometimes it feels like sharp pain on either side of your lower belly/groin, but it can also feel more like dull achiness according to my doctor, who assured me it’s normal.

Out of breath. Early in the first trimester I found myself feeling out of breath when I would run up hills or even go up the stairs at school. I’ve read this is caused by increased progesterone levels and more blood volume circulating through your body which needs more oxygen… I don’t really know all of the details, but it was definitely a noticeable side effect of the first trimester!

Appreciating every run. One of my best running buddies is currently 34 weeks pregnant with her second baby. With her first, she was able to run until her baby was born, but she’s had a lot more issues this time around, including varicose veins that are very painful. These issues have pretty much caused her to have to stop running altogether, and when she does attempt to run it’s pretty painful. Her experience has reminded me not to take running during pregnancy for granted. Just because I ran until delivery last time relatively pain-free does not mean that I will be able to this time. This mindset helps me keep everything in perspective and it really makes me appreciate every run I am lucky enough to go on with my little running buddy inside of me.

Running with my fellow pregnant buddies :)

Running with my fellow pregnant buddies :)

Baby 2.0 – 14 Weeks

14 weeks and comfortably in the second trimester now, which feels great! I had another week of ups and downs but luckily things should be getting a LOT better from here on out in terms of work stress. I’m feeling a lot more positive lately!

Baby

This week baby is about the size of a lemon and almost doubled in weight since last week! That seems huge! The head is about the size of a gumball and is now in better proportion to body size. He or she is starting to grow peach-fuzz hair all over the body for warmth, and it can now make facial gestures like squinting and grimacing. Too cool!

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Body

Pregnancy-wise, I’m feeling good. I have more energy and am definitely yawning less throughout the day! I also haven’t been having as many headaches and my appetite is RAGING! I’ve been sleeping pretty good despite waking up to pee about once a night, and I think sleeping with our new diffuser and lavender essential oils is helping with that. Overall I’m feeling like I’m in the second trimester- yeah! The belly is continuing to grow as well. A student at school this week asked me if I was growing a baby. I guess it’s getting more obvious! That’s a much better comment than, “You’re getting fatter!” which I got from a student during my last pregnancy :) Gotta love elementary-aged kids!

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I did wake up with a sore throat on Friday which got pretty bad throughout the day and over the weekend. I was a little concerned it was strep throat, since it was that dagger in the throat feeling every time I swallowed and I felt like I may have a fever. Luckily it wasn’t, and it’s pretty much gone at this point. I wasn’t able to really take anything for it since I’m pregnant so I battled it with essential oils (gargling lemon + lavender and then swallowing, and frankincense on the throat for inflammation), drinking lemon juice and honey, and all-natural “cough drops.” All of those things helped a ton and I’m so thankful- sore throats make me sad!

Mind

Let’s start with the highs. This past Tuesday Kevin and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary! We both had off from work since it was also Veteran’s Day, so we spent the whole day together while Kevin was in daycare like usual. We had such a special day full of running (in our Team RWB gear in honor of the veterans- including my hubby!), coffee, yummy food, shopping, flu shots, trips down memory lane by visiting where we got married, birth center touring, and some relaxation in there too!  I am a very lucky girl!

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Another highlight of the week was our birth center tour. We went to an ‘open house’ type event where people could come, learn about the center and their options, ask questions, etc. It was very interesting and we liked it a lot. We found out that a birth center/home birth would only cost about $100-$200 more than a hospital birth would since insurance covers mostly everything. Kevin feels very comfortable with the idea as well after learning about the safety and their very low hospital-transfer rate. I haven’t made an official appointment with them yet because I’ve been so crazy busy, but that’s first on my list to do tomorrow! I’m so excited!

More good news- all of our bloodwork came back normal! We had the cystic fibrosis screening and the MaterniT21 blood test along with our nuchal translucency screening and there are no abnormalities. What a relief. Aside from that obviously amazing news, the report also contains the SEX OF THE BABY!!! I asked the doctor not to publish the report to my Patient Portal account online so I didn’t see it, since originally we thought we didn’t want to find out like we didn’t with Kevin. However, the more we think about it the more we might find out this time. Since this is our last baby, it would be awesome to have both experiences of waiting until birth and finding out beforehand. We also would love to have some sort of reveal party. The fact that I could know right now if I wanted to is driving me CRAZY! I didn’t feel this way last time but I am dying to know! I hope I have the patience to wait a little bit longer!

I guess the only downside to the week was that I had another very stressful week at school. It seems like not a big deal compared to all the positives I had this week, but it really brought me down and I had a hard time letting some of that stress and frustration go. I don’t really want to talk about it too much but this year the majority of my job so far consists of working with teachers rather than students. It’s amazing how much easier it is to work with kids than to work with adults. It’s been challenging to say the least!

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Food

I ate like total crap this week. And I am feeling it. Ugh. I really feel like my eating is worse with this pregnancy which is why I have gained more weight this time. We ate out a lot- first for our anniversary and then in Richmond and after Richmond to celebrate. It was a bit too much. I started this week with my normal oatmeal for breakfast and started packing salads for lunch again, so I’m feeling good about that! I just need to keep this momentum going!

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I discovered this hummus this week and it’s pretty much AMAZING!

Fitness

This was a great week for running, mostly because of my experience at the Richmond Marathon this past weekend. The beginning of the week was a little rocky and I wasn’t feeling great. I was running on Wednesday when I started feeling some uncomfortable pain in my pelvic region- kind of like round ligament pain. Once I finished my run I looked at my calendar and realized I had run 8 days in a row! Oops! I didn’t mean to, it just happened that way. Not only that, but I ran a little faster than I have been lately. I definitely cannot handle that anymore, so I took it easy at Body Pump the next day and on the rest of my runs this week. I feel much better now! Note to self: remember you are pregnant and run accordingly :)

  • Monday - 2 miles @ 10:06
  • Tuesday - 3 miles @ 9:05 pace
  • Wednesday - ​3 miles @ 9:22 pace
  • Thursday - Body Pump
  • Friday - 4 miles @ 9:52 pace
  • Saturday - 8.2 miles @ 11:46 pace (running Amanda into the finish at the Richmond Marathon!)
  • Sunday – Body Pump + 2 miles @ 9:56
  • Run – 22.2 miles
  • Strength – 2x
My new "For Two Fitness" gear! Training for two shirt and maternity running capris. So comfy and flattering!

My new “For Two Fitness” gear! Training for two shirt and maternity running capris. So comfy and flattering!

Week 14 Summary

  • Weight gained this week: +1.2 lbs.
  • Total weight gained: +6.0 lbs.
  • A new first this week: I couldn’t make it through my 1+ hour commute without needing to stop for a snack and a bathroom.
  • # of days until my next race: 9! Kevin and I are doing a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot!
  • # of times I felt the urge to find out the sex of the baby RIGHT NOW: approximately 1,000

14 weeks last time around!​

Richmond Marathon Weekend

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This weekend was AMAZING! On Friday night I went about an hour south of where I live to Richmond, Virginia and spent the night with my friend Amanda who was running the Richmond Marathon the next day. We’ve been going through some very cold and windy weather lately, and this weekend was no exception. It was only 20 degrees at the start and the high for the day was 45. But despite the chilly forecast Amanda was in great spirits and ready to run!

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Right before dropping her off at the start!

A few hours later I met her at mile 18 and ran the last 8.2 miles with her into the finish. Amanda did such a great job and stayed positive the entire time. Those 8 miles truly did fly by.

Meeting her at mile 18

Meeting her at mile 18

Richmond sure does put on a fantastic race! The course was beautiful, the runners were super friendly and supportive, there were a TON of spectators, way more water and food stops than you’d ever need (which I’d much prefer over too few!), and great entertainment. There seemed to be some sort of music or fan cheering station every half mile and sometimes even more frequently than that.

All smiles at mile 21!

All smiles at mile 21!

Shortly after this picture Amanda started to not feel so great. She was having some stomach cramping but was trying to stay focused and push through it. I was so impressed with her physical and mental strength! She overcame a lot of obstacles during her training including catching her kids’ sicknesses and a lot of knee pain. Luckily her knee was feeling fine during the race, and she tried to focus on how thankful she was for that! Every time we passed a new mile marker I would remind her that we were now working on the next mile, for example- when we passed mile 22 we were working on 23, and when we hit 23 we were working on 24. This really helped her stay focused on the mile she was in rather than how much she had left. I also played her favorite power song on repeat during the last 2 miles which helped her a lot, and she even picked up the pace! Before we knew it we were at mile 26 and headed to the finish!

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This race had the best all downhill finish I have ever seen. Seriously, it was amazing and the picture above doesn’t even do it justice! We flew down this hill, and her last mile was actually one of her fastest. Our pace was in sub-9:00! Amanda crossed the finish line just over 5:02, coming so close to her PR. She was within a minute of it!

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The man in the light blue shirt behind the finish line is Bart Yasso :)

 

She was all smiles and super proud of her effort, and I was too. There’s nothing like the feeling at the end of a marathon, even if I only ran 8.2 miles instead of 26.2 :) I was just so happy for her accomplishment!

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I’m not going to lie though, even at 14 weeks pregnant I had serious race envy!! I will definitely be back to run the half marathon next year! I was also super proud of my other running buddies- Leslie who also completed the marathon (her first!), Chanda and Gina who did the half marathon and came close to their PRs, and Laura who did the 8K (at 32 weeks pregnant!). We trained together all summer so it was really special to celebrate all of their accomplishments. It was definitely a weekend to remember!

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Celebratory dinner post-race. Can you spot the 3 baby bumps? :)

Baby 2.0 – 13 Weeks

13 weeks! I have officially entered the second trimester- at least, according to my doctor even though technically it should be 13 weeks 3 days. But oh well! I’m excited!

13 weeks last time & this time!

13 weeks last time & this time! Just a tad bigger, huh? :)

Baby

This week baby is about the size of a peach- almost 3 inches long! The proportions of the baby are starting to even out and the head is now 1/3 the size of the body rather than 1/2.  Baby is starting to form teeth, bones, vocal cords, and tiny fingerprints!

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Body

I feel like my stomach really popped out this week! I swear I woke up one day and it was obviously sticking out more and a lot more round that it had been previously. Growth spurt maybe? Even people at school noticed! As you can tell in the picture at the top of this post, I’m a lot bigger than my first pregnancy at this point, which is exciting :)

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In other bodily news, my headaches have gotten a lot better and I’ve been continuing to feel better overall physically, thank goodness! I’m still tired but not nearly as much. I’ve been trying to focus on getting good quality sleep and taking naps when I need to, which is helping a lot. Another thing that has been helping is the essential oils we’ve been experimenting with. My friend has recently gotten into them and taught us about them. We bought a Family Physician’s Kit from doTERRA and over the past week I’ve been playing around with the ones that are pregnancy safe. We’ve been diffusing lavender at night in our room and putting it on our feet before bed. I’ve also been drinking lemon in my water which helps with energy and cleansing the body. I have used peppermint for a quick energy boost as well. I’ve used ginger for heartburn and indigestion, and frankincense for the one headache I did get this week. It’s been fun experimenting and I’m looking forward to discovering more uses for these amazing oils!

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Mind

The best part of this week by far was seeing our baby again in an ultrasound and learning that our genetic testing has all come back negative so far! We opted to get the NT Scan along with the MaterniT21 blood test and cystic fibrosis blood test, since all 3 are covered by insurance and non-invasive. We are at the type of people that would rather have the information we need to be prepared than to not have it. At the ultrasound the baby was measuring 4 days ahead (it was only 1 day ahead at my first ultrasound at 7.5 weeks!) and the heart was beating strong at 158 BPM. I was amazed at how much it looked like a real baby already- with a little facial profile and everything! It took a while to get the measurement we needed but eventually baby cooperated, and all the measurements came back normal. We also received the results of the cystic fibrosis gene mutation screening and it came back negative. I haven’t received the MaterniT21 results yet but should get them in the next few days.

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This positive experience at the doctor was really uplifting and just what I needed to get through a tough week at work. I have been having some difficulty adjusting to my new school and the people that work there. There are a few people there that really test me, and I was pushed to my limits this week. I got in my car on Friday and just cried on my way home. Once I was home though, I sat down with my family and put it all into perspective, remembering what really matters. I don’t want to pass any stress like that onto the little baby that I’m trying hard to take care of, so when I feel like I’m going to lose it I think of that and it definitely helps.

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Food

After a very indulgent Halloween (and the days following) I was able to get back on track this past week with eating much better. We made sure to stick to our meal plan and didn’t let ourselves give into too much temptation… and surprise, surprise- I’m feeling a LOT better as a result! Although you can’t really tell I ate cleaner based on this growing belly!

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Fitness

I did a few solo runs this week because my regular morning running buddy is 31 weeks pregnant and having some running issues at this point. I’m so sad and missed her a lot, but I’m proud of her for listening to her body. This second pregnancy has been harder on her than the first, and she’s disappointed that she most likely won’t be able to run until the end like she did with her first. Seeing her go through this though was a good reminder that I need to appreciate every single run I go on during this pregnancy, because there’s no guarantee I’ll be able to keep going until the end!

  • Monday - 3 miles @ 9:55
  • Tuesday - Body Pump
  • Wednesday - ​4 miles @ 11:34
  • Thursday - 3 miles @ 10:05
  • Friday - 4 miles @ 10:56
  • Saturday - Body Pump + 4 miles @ 9:41
  • Sunday - 8 miles @ 10:31
  • Run – 26 miles
  • Strength – 2x

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Week 13 Summary

  • Weight gained this week: +0.8 lbs.
  • Total weight gained: +4.8 lbs. I gained 3.5 pounds in the first trimester last pregnancy so I’m gaining a little more so far, but not too far off.
  • # of headaches: only 1 or 2!
  • # of naps taken: at least 3 that I can remember- so nice!
  • Maternity items bought: a new shirt and maternity capris from For Two Fitness and some maternity clothes from Old Navy!
  • # of days until we tour the Birth Center we may be switching our care to: 1! Yay!

13 weeks last time around!​

365 Days of Fitness: October Recap

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I can’t believe I am writing my October 365 Days of Fitness post! That means there’s less than 2 months left in 2014. That is crazy! This month I will admit that I did not exercise every single day. As I progress through the weeks in pregnancy, I’m finding that my body has needed a complete day of rest each week. I know I could have gone out for a walk or something simple instead, and that’s my goal for the upcoming months, but it didn’t happen in October. I took a total of 3 days off. I’m totally fine with that though, because I had some amazing fitness experiences this month. I was able to run with a ton of friends, do regular strolling running with my family, body pump twice a week, and an amazing half marathon!

Here’s the picture recap!

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Only 2 more months to go until my challenge is over! The next couple months should be interesting as it gets colder, but I am going to make it work!

Previous Months

All of my pictures were taken with the FitSnap App (it’s free!). Check it out!

Day in the Life with a 2 Year Old [Weekday]

It’s been over 3 months since I’ve done a “Day in the Life” post, and quite a few things have changed since then! I’m now back to work after an amazing summer off, I’m almost 13 weeks pregnant, I have a very hyperactive 2 year old, and my hubby started a second job in the evenings (following his passion as an assistant brewer at a craft brewery!). Needless to say, life is very busy these days!  I wanted to do a snapshot of one of our crazy weekdays, and then I’ll do a weekend snapshot at some point later- since that is a much different story! I love capturing our days and then looking back on them later on! Here is how our day went on Thursday, November 6th.

5:10 a.m. My alarm goes off, I get up to get ready to run. I noticed that it was raining outside and briefly contemplated going to the gym to run on the treadmill instead- especially since I knew my running buddy wouldn’t be coming today- but it sounded so unappealing. I know I have a long winter ahead of me where I’ll have to use the treadmill a lot due to ice and other things that are not really safe to run in during pregnancy. I really don’t want to have to start now when it’s only November! So I got dressed and went for it outside. 

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5:28 – 6:00 a.m. Running! It wasn’t actually that cold out and just rained moderately. I took it pretty easy because I was worried about slipping on wet leaves, and I was lonely without my running buddy, but I’m so glad I ran outside!

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6:04 a.m. I arrive back home and start making my coffee since I hear my husband in the shower.

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6:10 a.m. I hear little Kev start to make noise so I go up to get him. He’s still getting used to daylight savings time and has been waking up earlier than usual :/

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6:15 a.m. I take a shower while my husband gets Kevin changed and dressed for the day. They go downstairs to make their morning smoothies (their little tradition lately- it’s so cute), and I get myself ready for the day.

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6:45 a.m. The boys get ready to leave. I brush little Kev’s teeth and hair, and get his cloth diapers prepped and packed in his diaper bag. Then we read books for a few minutes while my husband finishes getting ready. We head back downstairs to get shoes and jackets on, milk packed, and my husband makes his lunch. I also start making my breakfast.

7:05 a.m. The boys leave for daycare and work in the rain!

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7:10 a.m. I eat my breakfast. I recently switched from smoothies back to my old friend- oatmeal! I wanted a change since it’s gotten cooler outside, and I’ve been loving it. I make my oatmeal with banana, cinnamon, vanilla almond milk, blueberries and peanut butter. Yum! I really enjoy having a few peaceful minutes to eat breakfast by myself before the craziness of the work day begins.

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7:30 a.m. I finish eating and start packing my lunch. I also finish drinking my coffee which is pretty much cold at this point.

7:45 a.m. I quickly get dressed, brush teeth and finish getting myself ready for work.

8:00 a.m. Leave for work. Sit in traffic because it’s raining and everyone forgets how to drive around here when it rains!

8:35 a.m. I arrive at work 5 minutes late :( I rush inside and get busy responding to the many emails I somehow received between 5 p.m. the day before and 8:30 a.m. this morning. I also run around to classrooms to talk to teachers and gather permission forms for after school reading tutoring that is starting soon. I also take a couple of bathroom breaks since I have to pee a million times a day. While I’m in there I catch a glimpse of my belly in the mirror. It is looking extra pregnant today!

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10:10 a.m. Before I know it my stomach is rumbling (already!). Time for a snack break! I’ve been loving eating two hard boiled eggs as a mid-morning snack. Protein packed and keeps me full, for a little while at least. After my snack break it’s back to work.

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11:45 a.m. Lunch break. Today I brought a black bean burger on whole wheat bread with avocado, and cucumbers with jalapeno-cilantro hummus. It’s so good!!!

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12:15 p.m. Back to work. I spend some time in our school’s book room organizing and filing books away, and I choose some new books for my reading groups for next week and write some lesson plans.

1:00 p.m. Here comes the afternoon slump. I always get pretty tired and unmotivated during this time of day. I have recently been talking to my friend who is into essential oils. We have decided to try them out and she gave me a few samples to use in the meantime before my order arrives. I breathe in some peppermint oil and put a drop on my tongue for energy to wake myself up. It’s amazing how well this stuff works!

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2:05 p.m. I eat a little snack of pretzels while I work. I feel like I eat all day long, but I really do need to eat small meals/snacks every 2-3 hours or else I don’t feel well. I also was feeling a little frustrated by a situation that was happening at school. During my snack break I scrolled through Instagram and saw this photo, which was so fitting in the moment! I thought about printing it out and passive aggressively posting it on the walls at school but decided against it :) Gotta love these hormones!

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4:03 p.m. I leave school and start my commute home. On Thursdays and Fridays Kevin picks up little Kev from daycare and I head straight home to get dinner started. I pick him up on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday because Kevin goes straight from his day job to his night job and works there 6-10 p.m. on those days. I don’t think I could manage to do a DITL post on those days because they’re a little crazy without any help from my hubby! On Thursday he doesn’t go into work until 8:00, so he can pick Kevin up, have dinner and spend time with us, and do Kevin’s bedtime routine since he misses that on the other nights. He’s also able to spend more quality time with us Friday-Sunday because he doesn’t work evenings on those days. Did you get all that? Whew! We are still getting used to this new routine and it can be tough, but I am more than willing to sacrifice right now if it means opening the door to better things for him and our family in the future. Best of all, he’s excited and passionate about his work for the first time EVER, and that’s pretty amazing :)

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4:58 p.m. I arrive home and start making dinner. We are having Two Peas and Their Pod’s Baked Pasta with Spinach and Ricotta. 

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5:45 p.m. I get dinner in the oven and open up the multiple packages we received today for some reason. It felt like Christmas! We got our order of essential oils (we got the Family Physician’s Kit from doTERRA), as well as the diffuser and coconut oil for dilution from Amazon. We also got a very early Christmas gift for little Kev from his Mamaw (it was a good deal and she had it shipped to us rather than carry it with her all the way up from South Carolina at Christmas). Finally I received some Athleta running capris that I ordered with some rewards money I had accumulated and needed to spend. They fit so nicely and I am in love with them!

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6:00 p.m. The boys get home and I spent some time talking with them and playing with little Kev. Unfortunately I don’t get to spend a lot of time with him on Thursday and Friday when his daddy picks him up, but we make up for it on the other days and over the weekend.

6:25 p.m. Dinner is ready! It looks and smells delicious! All of us approved!

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6:45 p.m. Kevin is a mess so we head upstairs for bath time! While he plays in the bath we FaceTime with Mamaw (my mother-in-law).

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7:10 p.m. We get Kev out of the bath and get him ready for bed. Daddy takes him in his room and they do his little bedtime routine of rocking, singing songs and saying goodnight. It’s so sweet. I hope he lets us do this for a long time.

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7:30 p.m. Little Kev is asleep and my husband leaves for his job at the brewery. I clean up the kitchen, do the dishes and work on laundry.

8:05 p.m. Time to relax! I catch up with my DVR and spend some time unwinding.

9:20 p.m. I feel my eyes start to get heavy so I head upstairs to get ready for bed.

9:40 p.m. SLEEP!

And it all starts over again at 5:10 the next day when my alarm goes off for another run!

Previous “Day in the Life” posts:

Spotlight on Speedwork

As a running coach, one of the biggest aspects of training I’ve been working on with my clients is their speed. Almost every runner has a desire to get faster, feel stronger and perform better. That’s the nature of our sport, we are competing against ourselves and always trying to improve. Speed workouts are a great element of any training plan, and can be modified depending on whether you are newer to running or more advanced. Here’s what I’ve learned about speedwork through my training as an RRCA certified running coach and my own experience.

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Why Do Speedwork?

Incorporating faster running into your training and routine has many benefits. Here are a few of them:

  1. It can be fun and mix up your routine!
  2. Speedwork like intervals burns more calories and also revs up your metabolism so you continue to burn calories after the workout is over… gotta love a good afterburn! I have noticed that I am extra hungry on my speed work days!
  3. It teaches you how to maintain a strong effort while running on tired legs.
  4. It teaches your body how and when to recruit your fast twitch muscle fibers, which are not utilized on slower runs.
  5. It strengthens your cardiovascular system and increases your aerobic capacity (VO2 max), which increases your ability to consume oxygen and deliver it to the muscles efficiently.
  6. It helps to push you outside of your comfort zone and builds your mental strength in addition to the physical. Speedwork teaches you patience while managing low-grade physical discomfort, and builds confidence in your running ability.

Types of Speed Workouts

There are 4 basic types of speedwork I like to incorporate into my training plans 1-2 times a week: Intervals, tempo runs, fartleks and progression runs.

  1. Intervals. There are a TON of variations on interval work, but the basic concept is to run hard, recover for a set amount of time, run hard again, repeat. Always start by warming up for 1 mile or about 10 minutes, then begin workout. An example of an interval workout might look like 6-8 x 800 meters with 400 meter recovery. One time around the track is 400 meters, so that means run fast around the track for two laps, then recover by running slowly for one lap, and repeat that 6-8 times. Generally you would recover for half the distance of the faster running segment. At the end of your track workouts just cool down by running slowly for however long you need to. This can also be done on the treadmill.
  2. Tempo Runs. There are two main types of tempo runs. The first is when you run a slow and easy mile, followed by some faster miles at a sustained effort, then end with a slow and easy mile. An example workout might look like: 1 easy, 3 @ tempo pace, 1 easy. The second type is a “steady state” tempo run, where you start out at a certain fast pace and try to maintain it the whole time. An example might look like: 4 miles @ tempo pace.
  3. Progression Runs. My favorite! For a progression run you want each mile to be faster than the last. For example, for a 4 mile progression run your mile splits might look like this, 9:45, 9:12, 8:56, 8:33. It’s a good challenge and a great way to teach your legs to finish fast!
  4. Fartleks. This is more of an unstructured speed workout. If the workout says “4 miles with 6-8 fartlek sprints”, you will run at an easy pace for 4 miles, but 6-8 times throughout the run you will pick landmarks or objects ahead of you to sprint to. These sprints should be done at pretty much your maximum effort, a 9-10 on the exertion scale, since they are so short. Some people call this “speed play” rather than “speed work.” Fartleks are great for all runners, but are especially good for beginners who are just getting into trying to run faster.

How Often?

When doing speedwork, the first rule is always run easy or take a rest day between the harder effort runs, none back to back to rest your legs and minimize injury. If you are training for a long distance race (anything above 10 miles) make sure you try to have at least one easy or rest day between your speed workout and your long run too.  1 to 2 days of speedwork a week is PLENTY, especially if you are also doing a long run. If you’re just starting out with incorporating speed into your running I would start with once a week and ease your body into it. Now is a great time to start since it’s nice and cool outside! Even when I’m not training for anything specific, I still like to mix up my workouts by throwing some simple speed workouts into my week, especially fartleks and progression runs.

How to Determine Training Paces for Speedwork

How to choose which paces to go for in your speedwork depends on your goals. If you are working toward a specific time goal or PR, you’ll want to train at specific paces that will help you with your leg turnover and “practicing” faster paced running. There are many different pace calculators out there, but my favorite place to go is www.mcmillanrunning.com. The McMillan Running Calculator will use a recent race time and a goal race time to come up with training paces. It tells you what you should be running during long runs, easy runs, and all of the speedwork runs I mentioned above. It is amazing and has helped me PR in almost every distance in the last 2 years!

If you just have a general goal to get faster you can go by the exertion scale instead. Rather than train at certain paces you will go by your perceived effort/exertion from a scale of 1-10. See the chart below for an explanation about what the different types of workouts should feel like. An easy run is a conversational pace, which would be a 4-5 on the exertion scale. This way of incorporating speedwork is a little less intimidating than using specific training paces and is still very effective! It helped one of my clients just take 5 minutes off her half marathon PR.

Exertion Scale (From 1-10)
1-3 Recovery Pace (between intervals)
4-5 Long Run/Easy Run Pace
6-7 Tempo Run Pace
8-9 Interval Pace
9-10 Fartlek Pace

Matching Speed Workouts to Your Goals

In my RRCA Coach Training we discussed the principle of specificity of training. The concept is that the system you stress is the system that will improve, and a specific stress will produce a specific result. This idea is important to consider when you are building a training plan. With that said, if you are training for a full marathon, there really is not much need to do any short interval repeats less than 800 meters. You are not training your body to utilize those types of muscles, you are training your body for a long, slower race. The opposite is also true. If you’re training to get faster at a 5K, you wouldn’t need to necessarily do tempo runs of 6-8 miles like you would in marathon training. Just something to keep in mind :)

I hope this little overview provided a good idea of the different types of speedwork and how to incorporate it into your training. When I started becoming interested in getting faster I did a lot of research and reached out to the experts I knew at my local running store, running coaches, etc. It definitely takes some guidance and support to figure out what works for you and will help you reach your goals. One of the things I love about speedwork and running in general is that your progress is so measurable. It’s exciting to see yourself improving and wonder what else you are capable of achieving. Over the last 6 years I’ve worked hard on my speed by using these techniques and I’ve never felt better or stronger. Here are my race times, comparing my first attempt at each distance to my current PR (most of which I achieved just this past year!)

  • 5K- From 28:31 to 21:55
  • 10K- From 56:50 to 49:35 (and I’ve run faster than in non-race situations, so I need to find a race to get myself a new PR!)
  • 15K- From 1:26:37 to 1:14:39
  • 10 Miles- From 1:32:07 to 1:20:43
  • Half Marathon- From 2:02:04 to 1:48:55
  • Marathon- From 4:35:15 to 3:56:08
The feeling of finally getting under 4 hours in the marathon after 6 years of hard work- nothing like it!!!

The feeling of finally getting under 4 hours in the marathon after 9 marathons & 6 years of hard work- nothing like it!!!

Here’s to getting faster! Hopefully I’ll be able to cut those times down even more after baby #2 :)

My other “Running Tips” posts: