Weekend Taper Instead of 20. Ohhh Boy.

It is a good thing I made the kindof-educated decision Saturday night to skip the 20 Sunday and begin my taper instead.  The way my legs felt, that wouldn’t have happened anyways.  If I feel like that marathon day, forget even finishing.

With me being sick and then wanting to fit in a half marathon, I had tweaked my training schedule so I had a 20 mile run one month before my marathon rather than the recommended three weeks.  I had originally thought I should get one more in before that.

I took the kids to the library Saturday morning after struggling through a marathon pace 5 miles.  As we were checking out, a book caught my eye called “The New Rules of Running.”  I grabbed it and off we went to the playground and a Mommy/kids date at Panera:)

outside3 outside4outside1


Cold but great day with my baby babies.  Then while they napped, I savored the quiet and dove into my new book.  I am not really one who follows many “rules” to running- I think running, like learning, is individual.  We all have our ways that it works best for us. But I do believe there are guidelines when training for a specific race.

The book really ground it in me that running 20 miles two weeks before my marathon was not a good idea if I wanted fresh legs for it.  After a fast 20 miles two weeks ago and a half marathon at a 7:39 pace last week, my legs desperately need some time to recover.  A long run would have killed them- the 12 slower miles I ended up doing instead nearly did.  I was struggling at a 9:20 pace by the end!  I have no idea if I made a terrible choice or not.  Only race day will tell.  Now I let the sweet taper and mending of those tired muscles begin.  I want to feel as good race day as I did my last 20 mile run.

As for the book?  I thought I’d share a few things I’ve read just by skimming:

new rules

1. There’s no one way to run.  The highlight of this is that they can see a pattern in a child as early as two years old!  The type of runner we are is largely based on nature over nurture and every runner is different.  Hey Mom, how did I run when I was two??

2. Speed is strength in disguise.  This one I have a hard time with- it talks about running your long runs slower to get you a faster time.  I obviously ran my 20 mile close to how fast I want to run the marathon, but I wasn’t pushing myself and I felt comfortable the entire run.  It is just one rule I can’t wrap my head around, even if I should.  I run slower recovery runs during the week.

3. You must learn to endure.  Simple- you need endurance to run.  One example of this for me is in high school.  I remember running an 8 minute mile in gym class (I was not a runner at all, but I wanted to get it over with).  I’d finish so hard I’d taste blood in my throat- I remember that vividly.  So when Bri and I began running together Junior year, I thought I had to go that fast.  As a result, we’d only get a mile before we were done.  I had to learn to slow down if I wanted more miles- to increase time on my feet.  That is how we begin to run longer distances.  But you can over-endure, too.  Sometimes we become so obsessed with the amount of miles we’re running rather than the quality runs themselves.  Especially with trying to hit a faster goal, the type of runs I do are more important.  My training plan rarely had me go over 40 miles a week!  And I’m great with that.

4. Hydrating and eating properly to stimulate recovery.  Pretty self-explanatory.  Hydrate big time, especially as a runner.  Replace electrolytes.  And eat real food.

5. Rest is essential for recovery and performance.  You need rest to heal and repair your body.  Over-training leads to injuries, which is why I decided to eliminate another long run and let my body recover.

The book then goes into detail on injuries, hydration, training plans, and strategies.  It even has training plans based on 10 day weeks rather than seven.  Very interesting read for the runner.  I tried to read it to the kids, but they didn’t care.

One rule I follow myself is not wearing a watch in races.  I have decided again against wearing my Garmin for my marathon.  I wear it only for tempo runs and for my long runs at home because I need to know when I’ve hit my mileage.  But at the race, they’ve done that for me.  I want to run how I feel.  Wearing a watch may help some, but for me it is a pain.  If I’m not feeling an 8:12 pace in Philly, I don’t want to know it while I run.  A great article from Runner’s World about the Timeless Challenge:


no garmin

I read Kara Goucher’s (I just love her) blog after her NYC marathon.  She wrote about the super windy conditions and how she really struggled to finish.  The first five miles she didn’t even know her pace because the mile markers had been blown away.  Even she doesn’t wear a watch.  And she runs a 5 minute pace.  Infreakingcredible.

kara goucher

Anyways- there are my ramblings about these rules of running amidst my own personal style of running.  There is no one perfect formula and I changed mine.  I’m hoping that won’t come back to bite me on race day, but what’s done is done.  Running a distance race is about having the fitness level to finish it. I have worked hard and my body is there.  Now it’s all up to my mind. 

Bring on the taper!! 



When You Want to Train for a Race…

Happy Belated Independence Day!!  I finally have time to sit down and write for a little bit!  BOTH kids are napping!  I’m sure I will pay for this later or something…

sleeping kiddos

I have a few friends who are planning on running in Philly with me- either the 8k or half marathon!!  I thought maybe I could offer some non-expert tips on training for a race for them and for anyone who wants to train for a race!

As far as my own training goes- Wednesday’s run was a five miler.  I took Thursday off and ran the Firecracker 4 miler (changed this year due to construction) yesterday here in Fairport.  It was SUCH a nice day for a run and I finished in 28:32!  My goal was 28 minutes, so I stayed pretty much on target.  I pushed myself hard on this hilly run, and I’m happy with that finish.  I finished fourth in my age group of 60!  I’ll take that:)

Today my plan called for a 45 minute Fartlek that I did not do.  Yesterday was a busy day- we didn’t get home until 11pm after the fireworks.  I wanted to sleep in this morning and spend it with my babies.  Plus I love getting them involved in my training as much as I can.  So after breakfast, we packed up and went for a very leisurely run around town to different destinations.

Brian “fixed” a problem on my double jogger, so now it’s actually worse than before and pulls to the right.  It was terrible- pushing with my right arm and pulling with my left to keep the damn thing straight, I’m pretty sure my right arm looks like the Hulk now.  Thanks, Babe!  I hope you find this sexy…

Anyyyways, we ran down to Perinton Park where Braxton played on the playground for a while and Char slept.  Then we ran back into town.  We have a tradition of going to the library and then the Red Bird Market.  Braxton, as always, got himself new books, some dry fruit crisps, and a juice.  I got an iced coffee and a chocolate marshmallow!!  Then we ran the canal home.  Such a good morning with two of my loves- babies and running.

So onto some tips if you want to train for your first race- whatever distance and whether you have kids or not, I think these all are applicable. I’M even still coming to terms with a lot of them.

1. There are going to be days when you don’t want to.

Run for the fun of it! If you're struggling to keep going, try to forget your goals and enjoy the process- Running is Fun!

Sure, there are times when you should still run when you kinda don’t want to, and you’ll  be SO glad you did (because when your mind says no, so will your body).  But sometimes you just plain don’t feel like doing what the plan says.  Like me today.  You’re not going to like something when you’re forced to do it, so don’t make it a stressor for you.  I don’t mean you can skip a 20 mile run if you’re training for a marathon, but every now and then, skip the plan and run for fun- however that fun is for you.  This also goes for unplanned things that happen in life that force you to skip or change a run.  A few deviations from your plan are not going to sabotage your race.

2.  There are going to be days when it sucks.

There will be days when you go out for your planned run, and it will go bad.  Maybe lots of them.  Running is hard.  That’s why is makes you so strong, and why everyone doesn’t do it.  But don’t let these days discourage you.  Even the best runners have bad days.  I used to get so upset when it went bad.  Ok, I still do.  But these things happen because we are human people and nothing is perfect.  A few bad days will not affect your goal, I promise.  They’ll make you LOVE the good days that much more.

3. Don’t go out too fast.

I know everyone doesn’t have a love affair with running. Sometimes it’s just a way to get in shape, and I understand that.  But that doesn’t mean you should run really fast just to get it over with.  You will have a really hard time finishing your run.  There are times you should push yourself, sure, but you have to run at your pace.  That might not be as fast as you want, but who cares.  I think the main goal for your first race is to finish it.  Go at a pace that you are comfortable with to get you as far as you need to go.

4. Don’t go too far too fast.

Don’t look at your plan and say, I can run more than this today.  You probably can, but too many miles too fast leads to injury.  I had a stress fracture from my first marathon training to prove it.  These plans are calculated for a reason. And if you think the plan is too easy for you, find a more advanced one and stick with it.

5. Listen to your body.

If you feel like you want to walk, walk.  Don’t feel bad about it.  Again, I’m not saying don’t push yourself, but you’re going to like running a whole lot better if you don’t feel like you’re going to die the entire time.  Take breaks if you have to.  Drink when you’re thirsty.  Take it easy if something hurts.  Our bodies are smart and they give us signs.  We just can’t be too stubborn or oblivious to listen to them.

6. People are not watching and judging and critiquing you.

How Phoebe runs.

This was a HUGE one for me when I started running alone.  I was super self-conscious and ran on the treadmill at home for a long time.  Let me tell you this:  If they even see you, NO one is thinking anything bad.  Anyone you pass by is one of these things:
– They are another runner and they are jealous, in a nice way, they are not out there running.  I do this every time I see someone running.
– They are not a runner and they are thinking how awesome you are that you are out there.
-They want to be a runner and you just inspired them to get out there and run.
– They literally are not looking at you at all and could care less.

7. Set Realistic Goals. 


Setting goals is super motivational and I’m a big fan of having them. But be realistic about it.  I would never have set Boston as my goal in my first marathon because I was nowhere near that.  Look at how you’ve been running, and set yourself a challenging, but attainable goal.  Celebrate the crap out it if you make it, but don’t be super bummed if you don’t.  There’s always next time.  It just keeps you coming back!

8. There are factors that you cannot change.


Like weather and the race course.  No matter what your goal is, be aware that can change in a minute.  If Philly ends up for some reason being a hot day rather than the cold one I’m planning on- I will put Boston of the plan.  It happens.

9. Don’t take it too seriously.






Running is so rewarding in many ways.  It’s a natural thing!  As long as you have a pair of shoes and some clothes- or not, you can run barefoot and naked if you want, I don’t judge- you can run.  One mile or 50 miles.  Above anything else, have fun, and you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more.

10. You will finish your race.

mud run finish

It might not go like you planned.  You could have a bad day, yes.  You might have to walk more than you wanted, or run slower than you planned.  But you could also have the best day ever.  Whatever the outcome- you 99% of the time will cross the finish line- and that in itself is the best accomplishment ever.

Well there you go, in a nutshell, things from experience I had to, and still have to, get over in my own running head.  I know I’ll probably post this and come up with some more non-expert advice to share, but this is a good start.  I absolutely love helping people if not love, then at least tolerate, running enough to try it. 

Set yourself a goal today and go for it!  I promise, you will be happy you did…at least when it’s over:)

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The people who keep me going and going and going.  Happy Fourth!!  I hope you and your families/friends all had the best weekend<3

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