Thursday, October 5, 2017

Focus On The Negative Split In Training And Racing

Raise your hand if you regularly negative split a race? If you're reading this and you aren't sure what the definition of a negative split is: 

Negative Split: Running the first half of a race or workout slower than the second half.

I'm hard pressed to remember the last time I negative split a race. That is a huge yet truthful (and painful) confession... I totally go into a race with a clear plan of execution and for a marathon, I always follow my coach's plan/advice/instructions very closely. Yet, something always happens that I end up slowing down the second half of the race. Heat, hills, just plain tired - you name it, I have a reason for positive splitting a race. I will say that the last two consecutive Boston Marathons that I raced, I did run the first half exactly where I was supposed to be - but in both cases, the extreme weather was a big factor in slowing down the second half of the race. This training cycle, I am aiming to fine tune all the things that I know about running and make the execution better, sharper, finely tuned. The biggest obstacle is starting a race slower than I know I am capable and then turning it on the second half of the race. I have dreams about it, I think about it during a workout, I am practicing it and I want to challenge you to do the same thing (practice it - you don't have to dream about it ;0)
It doesn't matter how advanced you are in your running, a negative split will make the race experience more enjoyable and there is a much better chance of achieveing a PR.


Tired face, but I negative split the workout!


Three Ways To Practice The Negative Split In Training And Racing


1. Trust The Training
Whether you are self coached or under the tutelage of a coach, you have to truly trust the training. Know that you have put in the hard work, tapered well and your body is ready to handle to challenge of racing. Trusting your training also means that you can start the race a bit slower and know that you will have the strength to pick up the speed in the second half of the race and then put down the hammer in the final miles.

2. Practice 
If you want to get better at something, you have to practice. The best advice is to muddle your way through it during your training runs. So many times I do this on easy run - it's so easy to do after a hard workout. Your body is tired and recovering, so you start out easy and then the body gets warmed up and by the end of the recovery run, you are going a little bit faster at the end (but not too much, because we are running the easy runs EASY.)
This applies in a workout as well. For instance, if the workout in an interval workout, start the reps on the easier side and then build from there.

3. Hold Yourself Back
Many times in a race, we are excited, well rested and ready to go. The runners around you are excited and when the gun goes off, you want to stay or follow that pack of runners on your level - even if they are starting faster than your plan. Don't do it!! I repeat from experience, Do. Not. Fall. For. It.
I guarantee, if you stick to the race plan, at some point you will reel them in and while you are cruising by ready to take on the last part of the race, they will have their tongue hanging out. I've been on both sides and you definitely want to be on the cruising side.



Have you mastered the art of the negative split?

Share your secrets and what goes through your mind during the beginning of a race?


Do awesome things.

xo,
Natalie



Monday, October 2, 2017

9 Weeks Till CIM + Live Life With Purpose

We are now into the single digit number of weeks until CIM. I have never raced a December marathon and it makes the urgency of the holidays so real. Christmas cards to think about, early shopping... I feel like I won't have a ton of energy or desire after the marathon, so the goal is to get a huge jump on holidays tasks this month. It was a good week of training, and I feel really ready for a break today. I will be full on enjoying a rest day from running and I couldn't be happier about it!
Let's take a look at last week's workouts:




Monday September 25th - REST DAY. Gosh I needed this rest day so much after 18 miles on Sunday and I relished in the fact that I could focus completely on recovery.

Tuesday September 26th - 7 easy miles

Wednesday September 27th - 10.29 miles.
Two mile warm up, 12 x 400 meter hill repeats (with 400 jog in between), two mile cool down. 
You can read all about it HERE and HERE.

Thursday September 28th - 7 easy miles

Friday September 29th - 10 miles with 8 x:30 second pick ups (all pick ups at 5:50/5:55 pace)
Progress. I'm now at a point where during these pick ups, I'm at under six minute pace on a consistent basis. Really happy with this workout.




Saturday September 30th - 7 easy miles at 8:22 pace.
My body was feeling less sore today - Wednesday's hill workout made me super sore for a few days. 
A good run today, so much so that I had to make myself slow down. EASY does it on these runs - nothing to prove here and can only hurt yourself if you don't dial it back.

Sunday October 1st - 15 miles. First 10 at 7:40 pace, last 5 at 7:00 flat pace.
This run had to be done on the treadmill today as it was the only time I had and it was an early evening run + I don't run in the dark. Long and emotional day today honoring a friend's life. Jerold and I had to leave super early in the morning to make it to the service and honestly, I didn't have the mindset to do this workout beforehand. Heck, it was hard to do the run in the evening - but goals... so I tried not to over think it and just jumped on the treadmill (after dynamic warm up of course :)
Happy that I could dial it down to 7:00 minute pace after ten miles of my normal long run pace. Running on tired legs is so beneficial in this training process. Needless to say, I was thrilled to be finished and I won't be running again until Tuesday! 

Total Miles: 56.29

Spending quality time with old friends was so wonderful. I love that we were all first connected through running, even though it has gone so beyond that over the many years. Although it was a sad time to come back together, we had some joyful moments reminiscing about time together as a team, old friends and the fact that our team and league produced some of the very best runners in the country. Pretty cool stuff.



I walked away with a renewed sense of purpose and wanting to make the most of every day. Am I living my life with purpose? Am I being as kind and loving as I can be? How can I help others more?

Waking up to the Las Vegas news made it that much more real.

It's a wake up call for all of us to live with zeal and adventure - joy and confidence. Let us all live our best life, even though that may seem hard somedays. May we all be reminded of the precious gift of life that we are given.


Thankful to always have him by my side.


Have a wonderful start to your week!

How was your week of workouts?

Anyone training for a Fall race?

Do you keep in touch with High School friends?


Do awesome things.

xo,
Natalie


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Goodbye September + Your Mind Can Control Your Pace

Adieu, September. It's been a wild ride! 255.72 miles logged for the month, which was 14 more miles than August's total. Slow + steady progess and can I tell you how much I'm enjoying this training cycle? I love pushing my body in a hard workout, my easy run days are refreshing and joyful plus I feel like bit by bit I'm getting stronger in the strength department.
So, I had one day off from running in the month of September... crazy, right? I've said before that Mondays are an optional day off or super easy 3-4 miles and I've opted for the easy miles every Monday except last week. I continue to let my body lead the way and those recovery miles have felt awesome the day after a long run. That being said, I have a feeling I am going to take more Mondays as a complete rest day in October.



Thanks September!



Let me also confess that I got my butt kicked this week! 18 miles on Sunday and then the killer hill workout on Wednesday...wow. I am still feeling it a bit and need to get in for a massage, stat.
It's so important to be gentle with your body after those hard efforts, and I've been really babying my body these last few days. I really want it to know how much I appreciate how strong it is and how it continues to show up for me day after day. Do you thank your body after a hard effort?






On my easy seven mile run today, I had a lot of thoughts about how your mind can really control your pace on a run or in a race. For instance, I notice that when I need my body to run faster - I literally can tell my mind that it's time to pick up the pace - this is important right now. Or, I've got goal paces to achieve today and I need to laser focus on my form and use my arms effectively. When I talk to myself like that, I notice almost immediately that I begin to run faster. Also, the reverse - today was an easy effort run and I felt like my body was running a bit quicker than it should be on as easy day. Sure enough, I was running faster and needed to slow down, so I told my mind - "okay, today is an easy day - it's important not to run too fast, time to slow down" and just like that the pace dropped. Imagine how beneficial this would be in a race? Picture yourself in a hard spot during your goal race: you are tired, but there's still a lot left in the tank - you just need to tap into it. Tell yourself that - talk to yourself. "I know this is a bit hard, but I've worked so hard to be here in this moment. It's time to dig a little deeper and get back on pace and I'm ready to do that."


Three Ways Your Mind Can Control Your Pace


1. Believe in Yourself.
This is so important. If you are in the middle of a race and you don't believe in yourself, then it's essentially over. Period. Even during the really, really hard parts of pain - you have to truly believe that you have the power to make your body perform.
Check out this execerpt from Runner's World about Training Your Brain To Run Your Best:




2. One Mile At A Time
Some miles will be harder than others. Don't give up just because mile eight didn't go as planned. Think of mile nine as a fresh start - whether it's the half marathon or the full, you still have time to turn things in your favor and get back on goal pace.

3. Talk To Yourself
Like really have a conversation with yourself. You can tell your body what you want it to do... "I need to speed up 15 seconds". If you really believe it in your heart, most likely (if you have done all of the proper training) your body will comply. Of course there are the instances where other factors come into play. Weather is a huge factor and indicator of your performance on race day. When I ran Boston this year, heat was a big road block. Although I went into the race without changing my time goals, I knew in the later parts of the race that a PR wasn't going to happen. I also clearly realized that if I let myself fall apart, it would make the situation much worse. Even though disappointment sets into your brain, push that aside and keep working (safely) as hard as you can - you may be surprised by the final outcome. I ran 3:23:01 that day, and although it wasn't a PR (and far from what I trained for) - if I had let myself fall apart and not kept pushing, even though the split times were sobering and disappointing, my overall outcome would have been much more disappointing. Instead I walked away optimistic about the future and happy about the hard work I put in and continue to put in each day. 

Believe in yourself.

Do awesome things.

xo,
Natalie

Friday, September 29, 2017

Running Is My Recess Hits 1K+ Tags!

The Running Is My Recess Community is steadily growing and  moving right along. The one thing that I love is seeing all the dedicated runners of all abilities and goals coming together. Group runs, solo runs, exploring a trail or hitting the road... these runners know the true meaning of recess.















Katie and Crystal




It's so exciting to see Running Is My Recess pass the 1K mark in photos tagged on Instagram. Runners supporting each other - a place to share, inspire and grow.
Wanna join us? Come check out the fun HERE
Whether you are a complete beginner or an experienced runner, there's something for everyone.

Thank you for helping to make this community what it is and cheers to a lot more fun!

Do awesome things.

xo,
Natalie

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Beast Hill Repeats + I Didn't Shower (Until Much Later) Today

I straight up know my neighbors think I'm crazy. I'm the ONE. The crazy lady that runs all the miles everyday. It's become a thing - an ice breaker if you will. People want to talk about running with me all the time. "I saw you running this morning!". There is this older lady, God bless her, who loves to question me (heatedly) about running. "This is the second time I saw you running today!" Um, no, I only run once and this is my first time out today.  "You run A LOT!" (Same lady). Uh, yeah - I guess I do run a lot. 
I get everything from "Do you have bad knees?" (I hestitate to tell anyone I had knee surgery, cause they'll just think "Ah ha. I knew it - she runs too much." When in fact that wasn't the case...) to have you run such and such trail (I get a ton of trail suggestions, which I love!)...  to you should meet our neightbor the ultra runner! And then Jerold will totally get quizzed when people see him in the 'hood - "How many miles does your wife run per day/week?" "What is she training for?" We see your wife running everywhere - do you run too?".





So this late morning, I was out running quarter mile repeats uphill (x 12) - and let me tell you, this long hill is a monster. First, I went on a two mile warm up and then got to work (oh and yes - my body was still creaky from Sunday's 18 miler, so I took extra time in the dynamic warm up). Two repeats down, TEN to go... even I thought this is kinda crazy and I hope no one notices what I'm doing. Then all of a sudden, a car drives by and pulls into a driveway. The lady gets out, stands and watches me for a while - goes into her house and comes back to wach for a while longer. "That is crazy." she says to me. "Yep, this hill is killer." I say back. "It's hot today." she says. I grunt out an affirmation - heck yeah, it was so hot today. So much for fall... Seven repeats down, FIVE to go. Next thing I know, she says "Can I get you a bottle of water?" In that moment, I was felt like the luckiest person in the world. "YES!" I said, my throat anticipating cold water and my mind telling me that the next five repeats would be like cake if I had a bottle of water.



Seen on my run (cool down) - it's not a bottle of water, but such a pretty view, right? :)


Later, I passed a man a couple of times and he sent an air high five and then another woman shouted something I couldn't hear, but I know it was something cool - so thank you.
Finally finished the beast and went home for a protein smoothie and fresh beet juice which I've been so excited to make since I got them at the market yesterday.





Lunch was really tasty: lentil soup and a bagel. I know I'm in full on marathon training mode when I eat an entire bagel. #all the carbs




Josh has the sniffles (stay away from Mommy - kidding, not kidding, which we all know is impossible because... I'm Mommy) and Elle was so tired and cranky that she went to bed at 6:21 PM. OUT COLD. It was awesome.
I also realized that I didn't shower until evening and that was kinda gross. Dried sweat is so glamorous.


What is your favorite lunch?

Is it still hot in your neck of the woods?!


Do awesome things.

xo,
Natalie




Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Tuesday Thoughts + 7 Miles

It's so interesting how Tuesday gets swallowed up as being such a random day. Not the beginning of a new week (Monday), it gets pushed aside by hump day (Wednesday), overshadowed by Thursday (almost weekend or Friday Eve), then comes Friday, Saturday and Sunday which have their own catagory (weekend!). Seems kind of sad, cause there are a lot of great things that can happen on a Tuesday:



I had a good run this morning. First mile was slow - which is totally normal after a hard effort long run day. I'm so glad I opted to take yesterday off...it was such a good break for my body, physically and mentally. I felt ready to get back to it this morning and it was nice to start slow and easy. Finished the seven miles and took a few minutes to do a bit of yoga...
Then it was back to Elle's preschool where I read a few books to her sweet class. I mean - reading to four year olds was easily the highlight of my day.


I'm not in my pajamas! ;0


I had no idea that today was National Pancake Day! Shhh, do not tell my kids that I missed this all important day. It just so happens that Jerold made me french toast for breakfast yesterday, so let's pretend that counts...


I promise you he made this - I was so shocked I had to take a picture. 


Water intake: I cannot even begin to tell you how much my body is craving water. Yesterday I could not stop drinking water all day and I had zero desire for anything else, just water. It trickled over into today, so hydration Tuesday is in full effect.


All the water, all the time


Saudi Arabia allows women to drive for the first time. First of all, what the what... I can't believe in 2017, in the modern world - women were ever forbidden to drive. Let's call this celebration Tuesday for real. (PS: why do they have to wait till June?)





Take chances. Do awesome things.

xo,
Natalie

Monday, September 25, 2017

10 Weeks Till CIM + 62.58 miles

I have to admit, September is not my favorite month of the year. Really don't want to be a Debbie Downer about the ninth month of the year, but right about mid August, I start to feel a little anxious. I'll have flashbacks of the summer, the time we still have left and the sort of dread of Labor Day. The start of school is a bit stressful - getting back on a rigid school routine, a little bit of mourning that the kids are getting older, absolute chaos of tons of school meetings and an overload of information. Pumpkin ads that I'm not ready for, Halloween costumes that seem too early to begin thinking about (it's not) and just rush, rush, rush. Somehow, when October rolls around - things seem to slow down a bit and everyone takes a deep breath that we are solidly immersed in Fall.
All this to say that I'm smiling with relief and joy that this is the last Monday in September...





CIM is 10 weeks away and the journey thus far has been really enjoyable. I'm loving all of the running and the sense of accomplishment that comes with each workout. Of course I love the easy runs too, I just zone out and enjoy the sunshine and the pure joy of moving my legs. Lots of stretching - every day is a dynamic warm up before the beginning of a run and taking the time post run to gently stretch and foam roll. My body thanks me every time...





Last week I had a solid block of training and I feel my body absorbing the miles without protest. I really notice when I don't drink enough water during the day - I feel sore and a bit irritable. I woke up on Saturday feeling really beat up and cranky - not enough water on Friday was the issue. Lesson learned... Goal this week: tons of water.


Monday September 18th - 4 easy miles. Again, this is always a recovery from the Sunday long run and an optional rest day. A nice and easy run feels good.

Tuesday September 19th - 7 miles. 

Wednesday September 20th - 2 mile warm up, 5 mile wave tempo, 2 mile cool down. Have you ever done a "wave tempo"? It's pretty fun - this one consisted of a change in pace each half mile. 6:55-7:05 pace for a half mile, then 6:23-6:35 for the next half mile and so on for five miles. I was happy that I kept it in the lower range - 6:55 and 6:25. It's interesting because at the end of the workout, 6:55 actually feels "easy". Five miles in 33.21

Thursday September 21st - 7 miles

Friday September 22nd - 10 oceanfront miles with 8 x :30 second pick ups.
This workout has become a regular staple in the marathon training and it feels good to put the speed into my sluggish legs. All pick ups were in the 5:40/5:45 pace range. #progress







Friday also marked the first day of Autumn! My latest article for Women's Running Magazine talks all about the joys of running in the Fall. You can read it HERE.






Saturday September 23rd - 7  miles. I love weekend miles. Another birthday party drop off and I was off to the beach to get in some miles and run back just in time to pick up Josh. Joyful multitasking.


Sunday September 24th - 18 miles. 18 miles is no joke - the mileage is starting to creep up and I'm focused on what to do on race day. I ran short of GU on this run and paid for it the last 5K. Ugh - that was tough and I felt like walking, but kept pushing myself with the 'ole, you only have 2.9 miles left... ;0
7:34 pace on this run and again, progress. I just have to take it one day at a time and treat my body nicely = lots of Monday recovery.

Post 18 miles!


Total miles: 62.58


I wish you guys a great week of running. 

If you believe it, you can achieve it. Do awesome things.

xo,
Natalie