How To Stay Motivated To Workout

How To Stay Motivated To Workout

Alright, we are almost through January, how’s your New Year’s resolutions going?  I know for myself the first few weeks in January were awesome!  I was super motivated and felt great.  But the last two weeks, weren’t quite so stellar.  I’ve still been working out and eating well, besides the two birthdays we celebrated, and I’ve maybe been eating a few too many carbs.  Ahem. So now that we are past the initial excitement of starting a new routine, how do we stay motivated?  Whether it’s working out, eating healthier, or self improvement, we all can use a check up on our goals sometimes.

Support Group

First, surround yourself with other motivated people.  My friend just posted before and after pictures of her workout journey on Facebook.  She looks amazing, so fit and healthy.  I know that motivated me to keep on my journey.  Maybe your spouse is that person, maybe it’s a friend.  Whoever it is, having a support group helps you stay on track.  If no one immediately comes to mind, go out and find someone.  Maybe it’s someone you see out running on the trails, maybe it’s an online group.  It’s easy to find groups online, and I’d love to help you stay motivated!

Revamp Your Goals

Take a second look at your goals.  Do you have a long term goal broken up into steps, or short term goals?  If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, break it up into 5 goals of 5 pounds each.  It seems much more manageable to lose 5 pounds then 20.  Do you need to reevaluate your goals, or are you on track?  If you are, well done!! Keep it up.  If not, don’t sweat it.  Figure out what needs to be changed, and fix it.  You can do it!  Every day is a new opportunity to start anew.

Use Apps And Other Tools

Do you use any tools to help keep you focused?  Do you have a mantra or motivational quote?  I like to surround myself with motivational thoughts around my house to help remind me throughout the day to keep on track.  I find after a while, I get used to these quotes and my eyes start to pass over them.  Every few weeks I try to switch up the quotes or move them around to keep them fresh.  I love the quote below.  What apps do you use?  I’ve used My Fitness Pal to track my eating, and it helped a lot!  Especially as a runner, it helped me make sure I was getting the correct ratio of carbs, protein, and fat.  There are millions of apps and other helps out there.  Find what works for you!

“Your biggest challenge isn’t someone else.  It’s the ache in your lungs and the burning in your legs, and the voice inside you that yells ‘can’t.’  But you don’t listen.  You just push harder.  And then you hear the voice whisper ‘can.’  And you discover the person you thought you were is no match for the person you are.”

January is almost over, but there are still 11 months to go in the year.  Keep up the great work!

Women's Running Community

Juicing 101

Back in December, my husband and I were brainstorming ways we could be healthier in the New Year. We started doing some investigating and came across juicing. It just so happened that we were staying at my husband’s family house for the holidays, and my in-laws have a juicer. My husband decided to get creative and whipped up a few juices for us. They were pretty good, but I still wasn’t convinced that juicing was the way to go. For the past three or so years, we have been avid protein smoothie makers. Seriously, we drink smoothies for breakfast practically every day. Why would you juice fruits and vegetables when you could just blend up the whole fruit and vegetable and get all the nutrients- less waste and more nutrients, right? As we continued our investigation, there is a lot of information about juicing vs smoothies. Both are a great way to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet, but juices lack the fiber- which means they are absorbed much more quickly into the body which gives your body an almost immediate boost. When I read this, my first thought was, “Wow, that sounds perfect for a long run.” But I still wasn’t convinced that juicing was something to incorporate into our daily routine. My husband was all for it, so we bought a juicer and the juicing began.

Juicing
Juicing

From day 1, I was hooked. We made our first juice, and I seriously could immediately tell a difference. It was so weird and unexpected, but I felt that immediate boost we’d read about. We did start with a juice fast. Juice fasts are a great way to give your digestive system a rest and still be flooding your body with powerful nutrients. I did mine for 3 days. I drank about 5 juices a day. It was a little bizarre, I never really felt hungry, but my stomach felt empty. It was a weird sensation. I did miss eating, but I didn’t feel as hungry as I thought I would. It’s been 2 weeks since we stated juicing and I love it! My body craves the juices now. I feel less of a desire to eat carbs and it definitely helps with cravings, which was a pleasant surprise- I wasn’t expecting that.

Once my training starts back up, I’m excited to incorporate juicing into my long runs to see if that helps boost my stamina. This article states that drinking beets right before your workout helps boost your stamina by boosting blood flow. I can’t wait to put this to the test!  It also has some other great juicing tips and recipes.

Interested in buying a juicer?  We bought this one from Amazon, the Breville.

This is the juicer that was used in the documentary Fat Sick and Nearly Dead.  We love it!  It is powerful and easy to clean.  Right now it’s priced at $149.99, but want to know a secret?  We purchased this from the Amazon Warehouse for a SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper price.  Have you ever purchased from the Amazon Warehouse?  It is seriously the best way to get items from Amazon for cheaper then they are listed- wahoo!

If the Breville is still too, much we almost purchased this Hamilton Beach one which has good reviews as well.

If money is not an issue, masticating juicers are supposed to be the top of line, best way to juice, kind of juicers.  This Omega juicer is the best seller on Amazon.

If you are curious about juicing at all, I’d say go for it!  I was skeptic at first, but now I’m hooked!  In the following weeks I will be posting more about juicing like recipes, what to do with the left over pulp, and more!!

*This post contains affiliate links.

What To Eat While Running


What to eat while running
What to eat while running

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve been rethinking my whole training.  Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about food.  Specifically, delicious whole foods and how I can incorporate them into my runs.

What you eat has a huge impact on the quality of your long runs.  Eating properly can help you avoid bonking or hitting the wall, and with proper fuel you FEEL better while running.  With a little trial and error, you can discover the perfect formula to boost your energy and performance.

Guidelines

The standard guideline for eating while running is to eat if you will be running longer than 60 minutes.  Aim to eat 100-200 calories every hour.  If you are training for a half or whole marathon, then start snacking about 30 minutes into your long runs.  By snacking early you are allowing your digestive system a chance to do its job and get you energy before you start to feel tired.  Obviously this will be different for everyone, so take time to experiment how much and when you need to eat during long runs.

Snack Ideas

Pinole Chia Waffles
Pinole Chia Waffles

As I was researching different running snacks, I was overwhelmed by the differing options other people suggest like gels, chews, raisins, bananas, oranges, marshmallows, gummy bears, and it goes on.  Some people suggest straight up sugar like gels and candy.  They recommend avoiding fiber and fat.  Other people suggest a combination of protein, carbs, and fat.  There is a lot of mixed information out there!  In both of my marathons, gels, bananas, and oranges were available to racers at the aid stations.  Because of this, I trained using gels, bananas, and oranges.  Gels are great because they are so easy to carry and consume.  They have been designed to give your body quick energy.  The problem with gels, is you have to consume a lot of them to keep up your energy because is it such quick energy, and while running a marathon, you burn through it so fast.  It also trains your body to only burn glycogen during your runs instead of tapping into fat storage (See my previous post on this).  Because of this, I’ve started experimenting with eating more whole foods and proteins.

Before a run, eat something light with whole grains and protein, like whole wheat bread and peanut butter, oatmeal with nuts, Pinole chia waffles (pictured above), or a whole wheat pita with hummus.  Make sure your tummy feels settled before you take off running.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Balls
Oatmeal Peanut Butter Balls

During the run, snacks like almonds, oatmeal peanut butter balls (recipe below), fruits, pretzels, crackers, raisins or other dried fruits, and dates are great suggestions.  The Pinole chia waffles are also a great mid run snack if your stomach can handle it.  I got the recipe from here.  Lately, I’ve loved the oatmeal peanut butter balls.  They are a great combination of protein, quick sugar, and some slower energy.

As you start experimenting with new foods while running, take it slow.  Some people can eat whatever they want while running and others, well, they have to be careful or they’ll be racing for a bathroom.  If you are training for a race, train with what you’ll eat on race day.

What to drink

Stay hydrated!  Drink water or other electrolyte drinks.  In my mission to eat more wholesome foods, especially while running.  I’ve create a homemade electrolyte drink that is perfect for quenching your thirst.  It’s all natural and so delicious.  My husband and I have recently gotten into juicing, and I’m excited to incorporate juicing into my runs as well.  Fresh juice is easily absorbed by the body, which is perfect for runners!

Orange Lemon Electrolyte Drink
Orange Lemon Electrolyte Drink

This is my base recipe.  Feel free to add strawberries, coconut water, or other fruits to add variety.  So delicious and the possibilities are endless!

Orange Lemon Electrolyte Drink

  • 4 Oranges
  • 1/4 Lemon
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pure Maple Syrup
  • Water

Juice oranges and lemon.  Mix in salt and syrup until combined.  I was just shy of 20 oz, so I added enough water to get to 20 oz.  You can add more or less depending on your preference.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Balls

These oatmeal peanut butter balls are a perfect for a quick fix while running.  They have a great balance of protein, carbs, and fat.  They also include chia seeds and flax seeds.  Super foods for runners!  You can also mix in chocolate chips, M&Ms, raisins, or whatever else sounds yummy.  I mixed in unsweetened coconut flakes.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Balls
Oatmeal Peanut Butter Balls
5.0 from 1 reviews
Oatmeal Peanut Butter Balls
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ c. Peanut Butter (Or Almond Butter)
  • 1 c. Old Fashioned Oats
  • ⅓ c. Honey (Or Agave)
  • ½ c. Ground Flax Seed
  • 1 Tbsp. Chia Seeds
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
  • Other Mix ins like chocolate chips, M&Ms, raisins, coconut flakes, etc.
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Form into bite sized balls and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

I made these into bite sized balls so they wouldn’t be too difficult to eat while running.  You can package them into plastic bags, or I used the press and seal saran wrap to individually wrap each one.  This makes it easy to pull one out and pop in your mouth without getting your hands sticky.

How to wrap pb balls
How to wrap pb balls

One warning with these, if you carry them in a pocket or close to your body, they will warm up and get sticky.  If they stay cool, they are the perfect texture.  Make sure you eat them with lots of water!  Especially to help wash down the peanut butter.

There are so many snack ideas out there.  Spend some time to find your favorites and stick with those, and then share!!  I’d love to know your favorite running snacks.

Women's Running Community

Honey Lime Quinoa Black Bean Salad



This is my most requested recipe.  It is scrumptious!  This Honey Lime Quinoa Black Bean salad is full of color and protein.  This is one of those awesome dishes that works as a side dish or a main dish if you are looking for something healthy and light.

Ever since my husband and I have committed to eating more of a whole foods plant based diet, this recipe has become my go to.  Whenever any one asks me for a yummy vegetarian dish- this is the one I love to share.  It is proof that eating healthy can taste delicious as well!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Honey Lime Quinoa Black Bean Salad
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • ¼-1/3 cup Lime juice, the juice of one large lime is usually enough
  • 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oi
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • ¾ tsp Salt
  • 1 large Avocado, diced (or 2 if you REALLY like avocado like me.)
  • 1 cup Grape Tomatoes, cut in quarters
  • 1 15 oz can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 Green Onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup Cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup diced Red Pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. 1 cup uncooked should yield about 3 cups cooked. I love to add either vegetable broth instead of water, or a spoonful of Better Than Bouillon while cooking. This really helps to enhance the flavor.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the lime juice, olive oil, honey, vinegar, and salt.
  3. Stir in the avocado and tomatoes. Make sure the avocado is coated in the dressing; this helps prevent browning of the avocado.
  4. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Stir until the dressing is evenly distributed.
  5. Refrigerate before and after serving.
Honey Lime Quinoa Salad
Delicious Quinoa Salad, packed with protein and veggies!

For those of you with eating clean and healthy goals for the New Year, try this recipe!!  You won’t be disappointed!

Enjoy!

5k training plan

5k Training Plan- How To Increase Your 5k Pace

5k Training Plan

The 5K is the perfect starting point for any runner no matter what your goals are.  Running to lose weight?  The 5k is for you.  Starting to train for a race?  The 5k is your first step, even if you’re training for a half or full marathon. 

This training plan is designed to help you run faster, but it can be used for any running level- just adapt the mileage for the long run to fit your current level.  Know your times for the 400m, 600m, 800m and 1 mile before you start.  It doesn’t matter how fast you are, the goal is just to get faster.

Running Marathon
Running Marathon

My goal is to run a 5k in 22 minutes to build a base to help me qualify for Boston.  According to the book, Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster: Become a Faster, Stronger Runner with the Revolutionary 3-Run-a-Week Training Program if you can run a 5k in 22 minutes, a 10k in 46, and a half marathon in 1:42, then qualifying for Boston is a realistic goal.  Ummm, wow.  Those are some intimidating numbers!  Especially for an average runner like me.  Some people are born natural runners, and running comes easy to them.  They are able to float at remarkable speeds with their long muscular legs.  Yeah, I am not one of those people.  I have to work for every mile, and every second that I shave off.

Ok, so back to the 5k and a 22 minute goal.  I’m going to follow the intermediate training plan in the book Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster: Become a Faster, Stronger Runner with the Revolutionary 3-Run-a-Week Training Program.  I’ve heard mixed things about this book, and so I will be modifying slightly.  Most reviewers say the key training workouts are excellent, but it lacks recovery runs so I will be adding an extra recovery run and a cross training/weight lifting day as well.

Here’s the plan so far, which I’m sure I’ll modify along the way depending on how things go.

WeekTrack RepeatsTempo RunLong Run
12 x 4001:1:13 miles mid pace
23 x 4001:1:13.5 miles mid pace
34 X 4001:1:14 miles mid pace
42 X 400, 1 X 8001:1.5:14 miles mid pace
5400, 600, 8001:1.5:14.5 miles mid pace
65 X 4001:1.5:15 miles mid pace
7400, 2 X 8001:1.5:15 miles mid pace
82 X 10001:2:16 miles mid pace
96 X 4001:2:16 miles mid pace
103 X 8001:2:15 miles long pace
11200, 400, 600, 8001:2:15 miles long
124 X 4002 miles easy 10 min walkRace!

*Track repeats include a 10 minute warmup and a 10 minute cool down not listed in the table.  Tempo runs include a warmup, short pace tempo run, and a cool down.  So a temp run 1:1:1 is a 1 mile warmup, 1 mile short pace, 1 mile in cool down.  I also made the long runs extra long for this type of training since I am already used to running 6 miles and don’t want to lose mileage.  Feel free to adapt and keep the miles between 3-5 if needed.

In order to reach my goal of running a 5k in 22 minutes, I need to be able to run 400m in 1:36, 600m in 2:26, 800m in 3:16, and 1000m in 4:08.  These are the times I will be trying for during the track repeats.  Again, pretty intimidating numbers!!

Here’s to new goals and running in 2016!  Let’s enjoy it together!

*This post contains affiliate links.

Women's Running Community

 

 

Train Body To Burn Fat

Train Your Body To Burn Fat Instead Of Sugar

Training your body to burn fat

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about goals for the New Year, and I keep coming back to this one!

During training for both of my marathons I gained 5 pounds- 5 very unwanted pounds.  I went into training thinking that I would lean up and lose a couple pounds, but nope.  After gaining 5 pounds the first time, I thought I knew better the second time.  I was careful not to eat back my calories after a run.  I ate whole foods and counted calories, and I STILL gained 5 pounds. Hmph.  I didn’t understand why this was happening when I was running 20-30 miles per week.

Now that it’s winter, my workouts have shifted to maintenance mode instead of training mode.  I’m running less, but still working out with cross training and weight lifting.  I started doing some research on why this was happening to me every time I started training, and I think I found the answer- metabolic efficiency.

Metabolic efficiency is all about your body burning glycogen vs fat.  You can run hours a day, but if your body is trained to burn glycogen, then your body composition won’t change!  This was CRAZY to me!  This also explains why you bonk or hit the wall during long runs.  Sugar reserves run out fast.  If you can train your body to tap into the fat stores, then you have more energy to use.  And yes, you can train your body to burn fat instead of sugar…. Or so they say.  I’m going to put it to the test.

After searching and learning about training your  body to burn fat, I’ve come up with three strategies I’m going to test out as I start back into training.  I will be using this for running, but you can incorporate it into any type of workout.

  1. Take more time to warm up.  I admit, I am TERRIBLE at warm ups on runs, especially short runs.  I usually do a few squats and lunges to warm up the legs, a few simple stretches, and I’m off.  Apparently, this immediately sets my body into burning glycogen mode.  I’m immediately demanding a significant amount of energy from my body, and it turns to the easy and quick glycogen source.  The plan is to start out slow, take the time to ease into the run to allow your body time to adjust and sink into those fat stores.  Try walking for a few minutes, then running so slow you’ll want to hide your face from people.  Take 10-15 minutes to warm up to your race pace.
  2. Go slow!  Run slow, bike slow, just go slow.  Keep your heart rate at only 60-70% of your max.  For me, this is between about 115-130.  This is kind of hard for me.  I’m used to working out with my heart rate in the 150-180s.  The goal is to stay in the aerobic fat burning zone.  Over a long period of time, we’re talking weeks here, slowly increase your pace to your desired race pace.
  3. Practice running on just water.  Restrict sugar before and during runs.  Yikes!  This will be a huge change for me.  I usually eat a banana and drink some oj before my run.  Then during my run, I eat oranges and gels.  No wonder my body depends on glycogen so much during my runs- that’s all I feed it before and during!  Some great pre run snacks include whole wheat bagel or bread with some nut butter and hummus with whole wheat pitas.  Mid run snacks can be nuts, vegetables, and avocados.  The No Meat Athlete likes pinole.  Interesting, definitely want to try that. 

I’m excited to put this to the test while I start training in the New Year!  I’m hoping this will help me run more efficiently.

Let me know if you’ve ever tried anything like this!

 

Women's Running Community

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

DSC_0056edit

 

One of the best parts any season is all the social and family gatherings.  Delicious food, friends, food, family, and did I mention all the yummy food? A favorite at our home lately is this juicy tomatillo salsa verde with just a slight kick.  It makes the perfect chip dip to share or try smothering it on burritos.  Delicious.

salsa verde
Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Use a food processor or blender for easy prep and clean up. Bonus!  This recipe can be adjusted to suit your own preference on flavors.  Feel free to add more or less salt, garlic, lemon juice, or peppers.

Salsa Verde
Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Aren’t these purple tomatillos gorgeous?  The husks from the tomatillos leave beautiful designs.

salsa verde
Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Spruce up this dish with some tomatoes, avocado, or cilantro on top.  

Happy Eating!

Tomatillo Salsa Verde
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A delicious Tomatillo Salsa Verde. Perfect chip dip or accessory to any Mexican dish.
Author:
Recipe type: snack
Cuisine: Mexican
Ingredients
  • 3 C Tomatillos
  • 2 peppers We love serrano peppers
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Garlic
  • 2 tsp Vegetable base (like Better than Bouillon)
  • 1 Tbs Sugar
  • 1 C Cilantro
  • 1 Tbs Lemon Juice
  • 2 Avocados
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
Instructions
  1. Remove husks and wash tomatillos. Add to food processor.
  2. Cut peppers and remove seeds to preference. More seeds means more heat.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Add salt, garlic, vegetable base, sugar, and cilantro.
  5. Blend until smooth.
  6. Quarter tomatoes and add to food processor.
  7. Add avocado.
  8. Pulse food processor just enough to break up tomatoes and avocado but still leave some chunks.
  9. Eat and enjoy!

 

 

Pumpkin Lava Cobbler



Pumpkin Lava Cobbler
Pumpkin Lava Cobbler

Pumpkin Lava Cobbler

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is all the pumpkin desserts.  I absolutely adore everything pumpkin. This Pumpkin Lava Cobbler is by far, one of my favorite pumpkin desserts of all time.  This Pumpkin Lava Cobbler magically creates a delicious caramel sauce when you bake it.  (Notice the caramel pooling at the bottom, oh yum!)  Top it off with some ice cream or whipping cream, and welcome to pumpkin heaven.

This Pumpkin Lava Cobbler recipe does have some flexibility, and I have included the option to use whole wheat and make it vegan.  Score! 

This Pumpkin Lava Cobbler is best served hot, right out of the oven.  If you don’t devour it immediately, if that’s even possible, warm it up before serving.  To take this Pumpkin Lava Cobbler up a notch, add ice cream, whipping cream, or to keep it vegan- vegan ice cream or coconut whipped cream.  Find a delicious coconut whipped cream recipe here.

Pumpkin Lava Cobbler
Pumpkin Lava Cobbler

Pumpkin Lava Cobbler
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Pumpkin Lava Cobbler. One of the BEST pumpkin desserts of all time!. This cobbler magically creates a delicious caramel sauce.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8-12 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup + 3 Tablespoons All purpose Flour (Can use half whole wheat with stellar results.)
  • 2 teaspoons Baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ¾ cup Granulated sugar (Can reduce to ½ cup if preferred, I use organic cane sugar.)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon Nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon Cloves
  • ½ cup Pumpkin puree (Can use canned or fresh, not pumpkin pie filling.)
  • ¼ cup Milk (I use Almond milk.)
  • ¼ cup Melted butter or vegetable oil (I use coconut oil.)
  • 1½ teaspoons Vanilla
  • Topping
  • ½ cup Granulated sugar (Again, I use organic cane sugar.)
  • ½ cup Brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts (I don't like nuts in desserts, so I leave this out.)
  • 1½ cups Hot water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray an 8 inch casserole dish with non stick cooking spray and set aside.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mix all dry ingredients.
  4. In a small bowl, mix wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until combined. The batter is thick!
  5. Pour the batter into the casserole dish.
  6. Mix the sugars and nuts for the topping. Sprinkle on top of batter. Pour the hot water on top of the whole dish. DO NOT MIX!!
  7. Bake for 40 min, or until middle is set. This may boil over. Place tin foil or baking sheet underneath to catch any spills.
  8. Cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!!

This recipe was adapted from here.

What It’s Like To Run A Marathon



Have you ever wondered what it’s really like to train for and run a marathon? 

Ever wondered if YOU can do it?  While researching what it’s like to run the dreaded 26.2 miles, most of the stories I read were about the elite, the Boston qualifiers, the people who run marathons 3-4 times a year.  Yeah, I’m definitely not one of them, and I’m ok with that.  Here’s what it was like for me to run a marathon.  And I promise, by the time I’m done, you’ll realize that if I can run a marathon, anyone can.

Why did I want to run a marathon?

I really started running in high school, I was on the cross country team and LOVED it.  Not because I was fast and enjoyed running 5 miles every day after school, but because of the people.  Cross country attracts amazing people, and I loved being a part of that.  My average time for a 5k was 21 to 22 minutes.  That may seem fast, but in high school that put me toward the middle end of the pack, average at best.  I had fun, and I loved it- that was what was important.  At this time in my life, I started having this thought that SOME DAY I would like to run a marathon.  Well fast forward, many MANY years, and four babies later.  That same thought was still in the back of my mind, only I realized that SOME DAY could be now. 

How did I train?

First thing I did, searched the internet.  How long does it take to train for a marathon?  Is there a training schedule for a person who only runs 1-3 miles?  Tips?  In my mind, I was still skeptical, can I really do this?  I have FOUR kids, how will I ever find the time?  I researched marathons to find the best fit, and I picked one in Utah called the Utah Valley Marathon.  After researching a lot of schedules, I made up my own schedule that allowed some flexibility in case life happened and I had to miss a run.  Then, I put on my shoes and started running, and I ran and ran for four months.  Then race day came.  Lots of adrenaline, excitement, and then that internal dialogue started up.  “Why did I ever want to run a marathon?  How did I forget how much I hate running?  What! I’m only on mile 17!  That means I have…… 9 more miles.  Um, how am I going to run 9 more miles, I feel like I’m barely moving.  Shouldn’t I be to mile 18 by now.  It feels like it’s been a mile.  How are those people still smiling?  My feet hurt.  Seriously, where is mile 18?  It’s taking FOREVER.”  Yeah, but I finished and vowed I would never run a marathon again.  Until three months later when a thought crept into my mind, “Don’t you think you could beat your time?  You can do better than that.”  And the thought never went away so I signed up for marathon number two.  Yep crazy. 

So, after some tweaking, here’s how I scheduled my training for the second marathon.  I definitely took it slower the second time because the first time I started running too much at first and then had to take a couple weeks off because of pain in my ankle.  I ran three times a week. Yep, that’s it.  Two short runs during the week and a long run on Saturday.  I am a busy mom, and running everyday just wouldn’t work for me, and I don’t have a treadmill.  Also, by the time I got to the really long runs, all that running just felt hard on my body.  The other days I worked out at home.  I did weight lifting (crucial if you are a runner), Insanity, biking, and other aerobic activities.  I started training the last week in February (race day was second week in June).  I increased my long run by two miles every other week, so every other week was a hard week, then I would cut it back a little bit the next week to allow my body time to adjust.  My short runs varied in distance depending on how much time I had.  I also tried to do intervals, tempo runs, and hill sprints on my short runs.  When would I run?  Obviously, running in the morning was ideal, but in February, that’s too cold for me, I’m a wuss.  So if a morning run was out, I would run at my son’s soccer practice.  Yes, that meant doing laps around the field while my kids played. Or I would do hill sprints in front of my house with my kids.  They loved that.  I had to get creative on ways to run with my kids around.  I would do my long runs on Saturdays when my husband was home to watch the kids.  My longest run was 20 miles, four weeks before race day.  Then, the last four weeks I tapered to really let my body adjust and heal for race day.  I still worked out, but cut back on the running. 

Next time I train, I want to start sooner so I can increase mileage slower.  I would also like to do more of the longer runs at the end, maybe run a 20 miler two or three times instead of one. 

What was it like on race day? 

Intense!  The night before I did not get very much sleep- way too stressed out!  For the Utah Valley Marathon, they bus you up the canyon to the starting line.  Guess what time the buses leave?  Between 3 and 4 am, yes you read that right.  Crazy!  Race started at 6 am.  They had fires, because even in June it’s FREEZING up in the mountains at 4 am., porta potties, Gatorade, and water.  It was so cold that when the race started, my toes were numb.  About 20 minutes before race time, I did my warm up then lined up.  Let me stop here and talk about goals.  I had a best case scenario and worst case scenario.  I told myself I would be happy with anything in between.  Best case scenario I finish in less then 4 hours.  Worse case, 5 hours.  I knew that the planets and stars and moon and everything else would have to align for me to finish in less than 4.  So realistically, I figured I would finish after 4 hours, but really wanted to finish before 5.  At the starting line, they have pace setters.  This was the first mistake I made.  I found the pace setter to finish in 3:55 (just under a 9 minute mile), and I looked briefly but did not see the pace setter for 4:00 or 4:05 so I hopped in with 3:55ers.  Mistake, I should have looked harder.  I was comfortable running a 9 minute mile and knew I could maintain that for a long time, and I hoped with the right crowd, I could maintain that the whole time.  Well, the gun went off and we slowly settled into an 8:30 pace.  It was comfortable at first, but I knew it was too fast for me.  Before we even hit mile 10, I had fallen behind this group.  Then, I was passed by the 4:05 group.  I started kicking myself, that was the group I should have started in.  Too late now!  So I plugged along alone.  I tried to keep a positive attitude the entire time.  I knew I could do it.  Honestly, I felt pretty good until mile 20.  Man, that’s when my legs just refused to run any more.  It was sooo hard to pick up my feet and keep running.  I felt sick to my stomach.  Then, my phone rang.  It was my husband.  He was so encouraging.  He got me all pumped up so I picked up my pace with new vigor and enthusiasm, for about 5 min, then my legs turned to lead again.  But a little while longer he called again, and then again.  He is the one who really got me through those last 6 miles.  The last half mile of the race my seven year old son came and ran with me.  I had to put on a good face for him, and that helped tremendously.  FINALLY, I crossed the finish line in 4 hours and 20 minutes.  Not bad.  I was perfectly happy with that time.  After crossing the finish line, it was such a relief. I had done it! Yeah!  My stomach hurt so much I could barely drink or eat, but knew I needed to so I forced some food down, and then got a massage.  I felt bad for the people who had to massage hundreds of sweaty, stinky legs, but man how I loved them.  After enjoying the kids race and gathering my belongings, I took a nice, long nap. 

Tips? 

Find a friend.  Yes, you can run a marathon by yourself, I did.  But when it starts to get tough, and it will, it is so nice to have someone right next to you encouraging you.  And when you can tell they are struggling, you encourage them.  You tell them they can do it! (Even if you don’t think you can!)  All that positive thinking rubs off on you.  It’s also nice to have a friend to train with and help hold you accountable.  I did have an awesome friend who would run with me.  This helped my training so much!! 

Have realistic goals.  Have short term and long term goals.  I like having a window for my race day goal.  There are so many things you can’t control on race day, like the weather, so it’s nice to have a flexible goal to accommodate when life happens.

 Keep a journal while you are training.  Write about how your runs feel.  What did you eat? What did you wear?  Do you get blisters?  How did your tummy feel?  Any unusual bathroom stops (yes they happen in the most inconvenient times).  During my 16 mile run, I fell and skinned my knee with 4 miles left.  I had a choice, I could run home (less than a quarter mile away) and get a band aid, or keep running, even though blood was running down my leg.  I knew if I stopped, it would be so hard to start up again. So I kept running.  I had to stop and wipe the blood off a couple times, but I had such an adrenaline rush from falling, I finished the last 4 miles in record time- it was crazy!  Anyways, write all that crazy stuff down so you can go back and review what habits are working and what needs to be discarded. 

Training for a marathon is hard and rewarding at the same time.  Seriously, if I can do it, anyone can!  You just need a positive attitude, determination, and some running shoes.  I know you can do it!

I used this book to guide my training- it is an amazing book especially for busy moms! 

Check out my guide for choosing the best running shoes!  Seriously, you need awesome shoes to train in, don’t skimp on shoes!

Not quite ready for a full marathon?  Try training for a half first!

 

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