Thursday, March 22, 2012

Train Like A Mother: a few sample workouts

It was one of the highlights of my "blogging career" to get an email from the fabulous mother running duo of SBS and Dimity offering a review copy of Train Like A Mother. I've been dying to read the book and check out the training plans especially since my main running goal this year is to get faster and leaner. Although I would have eventually bought the book, I probably wouldn't have gotten it right away. This mom is on a budget.

To be identified as someone who could help spread the word about this book was a confidence boost--and to not have to buy the book? Awesome!

I'm about halfway through the book. I usually fly through books but this is one I don't want to miss anything from so I'm taking my time.  I love it like I knew I would. SBS and Dimity write in such a humorous, conversational manner and all the anecdotes and personal stories add so much.

Currently I'm training for what I call a homemade race.  Which means I don't want to shell out the cash for an actual race when I can follow a training plan and then "race" the distance myself.  My sister and a few friends are doing the same. I'm training for a 10k, a distance I've never actually raced. I figured it's not as demanding with long runs and I can pretty easily run 6 miles in an hour, so it's a good distance to work on speed and endurance.

In Train Like A Mother, there are nine different training plans covering the 5k, 10k, half and full marathon distances as well as a a plan for coming back from injury.  Each distance has a "finish it" plan and an "own it" plan. I decided to pick up in the middle of the own it plan for the 10k.

Saturday I ran 5 miles around an 11min pace on the treadmill.  Sunday was a rest day from running, and Monday I did an easy 2-mile recovery run on the 'mill while the kids played.

Workout #1

Tuesday was a hill workout. I've read about these, I know that they are helpful in increasing speed and turnover, but I've never actually done one.  The instructions were to warm up for 1-2 miles, run a moderate hill 5 times for 2min, then cool down.

I was able to run after work before the hubs left for school.  I did a full 2 mile warm-up, which was a mistake. I should have stuck to 1 mile, since I hadn't ever done a hill workout before. I have plenty of hills in my neighborhood, but they are all steep or too short for this workout. I chose a hill I was hoping was moderate that allowed me to run up for 2 minutes, but I quickly realized it was not a moderate hill.  I still did my 5 hill repeats, and wanted to die--although I felt really strong powering up those hills.  I cooled down for a mile (ending with 4.5 miles), got home and was as close to puking as I've ever been after a workout. My mouth was so thick that I was gagging on my saliva. It was lovely. I also learned that eating a few spoonfuls of buttercream frosting an hour before a hard workout isn't a good idea.

This was one of the most challenging running workouts I've done, but I can definitely see how it can make a huge difference in my pace. I will for sure keep doing hill workouts and I think I may have found a hill that's more moderate to try. Or I'll just kill the steep hill!

Yesterday, Wednesday ended up being a rest day. I would have liked to do a DVD or something, but I didn't get up early and ran out of time at the end of the day, and I'm okay with that.

Workout #2

This morning's schedule called for a tempo run.  Warm up, 2 tempo miles and cool down. Smartcoach has my tempo miles at 9:35, so I figured that's what I would go for. I warmed up on the treadmill for a mile, waiting for the sun to start to kiss the tops of the trees and then I hit the streets for the tempo and cool.  It's been a while since I tried to hit a specific faster pace while running streets.

After the first .20 I looked at my Garmin and saw an 8:41 pace.  First of all, I didn't know I could run that fast, second of all that was too fast for my tempo miles and no way I could sustain it. I worked on slowing down but struggled to settle in at the appropriate pace. I think I was afraid of going too slow, so I ended up going too fast. I was running on a fairly flat straightaway that was about a mile long. My first tempo mile was 9:14. DANG!!

I was trying to run up to a certain point that included an incline and after running that fast, getting up the incline was hard. I stopped my Garmin and walked to the top, crossed the street and then picked it up again for the second tempo mile which was 9:20.  I took a walking breather and then ran home just in time for hubs to leave--but I'm a numbers freak, so I made sure my Garmin hit 3.75 right at my house.

I cannot believe I hit those paces for two miles. And I kept holding back trying to get to 9:30ish.  Maybe it was the slower long run. Maybe it was the hill workout. Maybe it's that I'm finally dropping the holiday/marathon pounds and feeling trimmer.  Probably all of the above.

But I like it.  I'm all in on the TLAM 10k Own It plan. Our homemade 10k is at the end of April, so we'll see what I can do!

And yes, you need this book!  Even if you aren't a mother, you will really benefit from it. There are a lot of references to being a mom who runs, but the training plans, tips and explanations hold true to any female runner.