Run Find Your Happy Pace

finding my happy pace in running and life

In a Running Rut? Need some Motivation? Aaptiv could be right for you!

This is the true story about how the app Aaptiv helped me to find MY happy pace in running again.

Backtrack to late last fall.

I had trained on my own for The Big Sur Half Marathon in November.  And by training I mean I managed the workouts, and the long runs etc, but my motivation was kind of in the pooper.  Like on a scale of 1-10 I was probably at a 3 or 4 at best but only because I was still running.  It wasn’t pretty and I wasn’t really enjoying myself at all.  I ran the half with no real expectations, no big hopes for a new PR.  I knew I would finish and chocked it up to enjoying the sights and sounds of my last Big Sur Half Marathon while here in CA.  Mission accomplished, in other words I got it done.  It’s a beautiful half for sure. Thank goodness.

Next up for me was the Star Wars Light Side Half in January.  Problem was although I was super excited to run the Star Wars themed race, I was still lacking any real motivation to continue to train.

Enter Aaptiv.

Changing word Unmotivated into motivated

Please note: I DO NOT receive ANY monetary compensation from sharing Aaptiv.  Nor did they ask me to write this post.  However I really and truly enjoy the app and use it regularly.  If you’re in a rut and lacking motivation like I was, or just want to try something new then this might be just the app for you

November 2016

My husband has been in a rigorous accelerated collage program to get his masters degree. In other words lots of time in class and even more time at the library.  That’s the reason we are in California so I’m not complaining just stating facts.  We also have three very active children, I work part-time at a local running store, and am responsible 99% of the time for making sure the kiddos get where they need to be, when they need to be there.   School, sports, scouts etc, etc. Like many of you my training is often superseded by family schedules.  Add in lack of motivation and you have a recipe for a running disaster.

face-plant

I had heard about Aaptiv online and had been curious about it.  I found out a local friend of mine had become an ambassador.  I contacted her and she hooked me up with a free trial, I mean what did I have to lose?  Except maybe my severe lack of motivation.  If this could help, then I was all in.

One word.  Wow!  I have to tell you joining Aaptiv has been a HUGE motivational boost for me!  It not only saved my half, but has given me a whole new outlook and joy in my everyday running and training.  In fact I was so hooked that before my trail period ended I not only signed up for the year I also applied to become an ambassador.

But before I go any further let me explain exactly what Aaptiv is?

Aaptiv is way more than a running app!  It’s a complete on demand, multi coach, fitness audio training app right on your phone.  It’s like having a coach in your pocket 24/7.  Chock full of classes you can do in your home, at the gym or take it with you outside.  The app has taken off since I have joined and now includes:

  • Indoor (treadmill) Classes
  • Outdoor Running Classes
  • 5k – full marathon training plans
  • Indoor Cycling classes
  • Yoga Classes
  • Strength Classes
  • Meditation Classes
  • Stairclimber Classes
  • Walking Classes
  • Stretching (classes are automatically suggested right on the app after each class, which I love because I can be a bit lazy when it comes to stretching)
  • elliptical classes
  • 7 minute quick HIIT classes
  • monthly challenges and so much more
  • there is also an Official Aaptiv Member Facebook page where you can connect with other members

In addition to choosing which type of class you want to take, filter options also include sorting by:

  • duration of the class
  • incline level (when applicable)
  • speed
  • difficulty level (green for beginner, yellow for intermediate and red for advanced)
  • classes by trainer (choose your favorite or try someone new)
  • new classes or classes previously taken

Classes are set to fantastic music too.  No stale old “who the heck is this?” music here.  You will find everything from Hip Hop and Rock to Country.  Everything from Foo Fighters, Brittany Spears, AC/DC and everything in between.  The trainers are motivating and informative, I love the extra push I get from having that trainer in my ear.

Back to my Half Training:

For the Star Wars Lightside I jumped into the half training plan at the appropriate week for my half schedule.  Weekly runs in the half plan include cross training / recovery days. (a complete explanation of the plans are available on the Aaptive website)  The half training includes days of speed work, tempo runs and even long runs.  Each day is led by a seasoned instructor who both motivates you and gives great information on how to prepare for your half.   Just click the day of the plan your on and go!  I was able to do most (and could have done all if needed) of my training on the treadmill because that’s what works best for me time wise.  The plan is great for indoor and outdoor training.  I not only performed really well at Disney I enjoy every single minute of that half!  Honestly.

16177624_10210467079667135_8193170896804561726_o

This was in between miles 12 & 13…see still smiling.

So what now?

Since January I have continued to use Aaptive 4-5 days a week.  I branched off from the plan and now include weekly classes like hill training, speed training and even cross training days.  I am so thankful to be excited about working out and especially running again.  I have found new motivation to work on getting better, faster, stronger all while finding my happy pace in running and life!

17553524_1485648808135946_2272903127172598121_n

Great run thanks to Aaptiv even with some hills!

Are you needing a little motivation or a change in your routine and want to try Aaptiv too?  Feel free to use my code

DARLENAKOLPAKCLUB (click my code for the website and enter it there)  

Cancel at anytime during the trial period if you don’t love it.  

Any problems or questions, just ask!

 

 

No Comments »

This One is Gonna Hurt. When you know its time for a DNS

February 2017

25K Trail Race

My first ever DNS (did not start)  

But why?

  • Was I sick?  No
  • Was I unprepared?  I thought so.
  • Hard decision…definetly!
  • Right decision?  I still say yes.
  • Does it hurt?  A little

I was signed up for my first ever 25K trail race.  I was distance prepared but not hilly trail prepared for this race.  I had done a half just a few weeks earlier at Disney but my trail hill training was lacking.  I was hoping to get a few good long, hilly, trail runs in the few weeks between races.  I have to thank the Treadmill and my friend Sharon (Rungry Runner) for the few that did happen.

Never regret the steps you have taken for they all lead you somewhere.  

16178828_1304112556320326_8214388167861948303_o

Sharon aka: RungyRunner

Sharon aka: Rungy Runner

I was uneasy the entire week leading up to the race, and especially the night before.  I personally knew not one person who was also doing the 25k.  I knew people doing the 10k and some doing the 50k.  If I had one partner in crime I would have toughed it out no matter how long it took me.  Once you commit to a trail race your out there.  And if that means your out there alone then that’s your situation.  Distance trail races are different from road races.  I have done quite a few half marathons out here in Cali alone.  But being a less experienced trail runner, and this would be my longest trail race ever, I just wasn’t feeling it.

I woke up at about 4 and told my hubby I decided not to do the race.  He said are you sick?  Nope, just not ready.  I got up at about 6 instead and headed out for some less hilly trail miles close to me.  The more I ran the more sure I was that I had made the right decision.  And if you believe in signs these were some pretty good ones.  Rainbows, lots of rainbows out during my run.

16406993_10210627565799188_1596459968621591315_n 16427297_10210627566279200_7992324404434238092_n

 

I guess sometimes DNS is the right thing to do, its just hard.  

 

 

 

16388156_10210627066746712_1643700881781873082_n

Have you ever had a DNS?  Well, now you know your not alone.

2 Comments »

2017 So Far… Did Someone Say Star Wars?

Its been a while, and this post is pretty late but I haven’t fallen off the running wagon!  In fact I ran Disney in January.  But not just any Disney race, a total “Bucket List” Star Wars half marathon race for me.

0cfb9514c4d899d114fd1cbc0154c27c

This wasn’t my first Disney race but it was my first half at Disneyland.  And having it be a Star Wars was more that just the icing on the cake for me.  I am a HUGE Star Wars nerd.  In fact we are an entire family of Star Wars nerds.  No regrets, no excuses.  I grew up on Star Wars and my favorites were always the droids….and of course Princess Leia. #princesspower

 

As luck would have it my kiddos also had a few days off from school around the race so we made it a Mommy & kiddo weekend.  We are currently about 5 1/2 hours from Disneyland so we drove.  Through fog (lots of fog) a crazy rain and wind storm (thank you Grapevine!?!) and fog and almost snow and fog because did I mention the fog?  Geez who knew I might have to worry about snow driving to southern California?!?  Amazingly we made it in exactly 5 1/2 hours on the dot.  BAM.  Go Mom.

The kiddos and I headed to the expo not too long after we got to Anaheim.  The hardest part for me was figuring out where the expo was and how to get there, lol.  I am slightly directionally challenged, ok maybe more than slightly.  But we managed.  Packet pick up complete.  Next we were off to lunch at Rainforest Cafe.  No rest for the wicked (or pre-race Mom) we spent most of the day in the parks.  #worthit

16115017_10210447139768650_4914294464232896052_n

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to participate in any of the weekend challenge races but it was fun to see people walking around the parks with all their medals.  My race was all about Sunday’s half.  I was ready and so excited.  I had decided to dress as BB8 because I had gotten a SWEET BB8 shirt from InknBurn.  And I am always a sucker for the droids.  Not too long before the race the world lost our Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher)  so I decided to do an ode to Leia by wearing my hair in Princess Leia styled buns for the half.  RIP Carrie.

Race morning was chilly but I meet up with a fellow Subbers (Sub 30 club) Shannon and Mary and we headed out to the half together.  OK they totally showed me how to get to the start because apparently the kids and I had been taking a round about way to enter the parks.  See, directionally challenged my friends.  We met up for a pre race group Subber pic and then said our goodbyes as we were in different corrals.

15977573_10210466073961993_3977498331332962420_n

Members of the Sub 30 Club

If there is one thing I am always happy for it’s a good toss away shirt / sweatshirt for waiting in the corrals at the start of the race. Can I get an Amen?  Even though Disney always keeps things lively there isn’t much they can do about the cold.  I was really happy I had a sweatshirt for that 30-40 minute wait for my corral to get on their way.  Running through the parks and Anaheim were magical for sure. If I included all the pics I took this post would be more like a mini novel.  Here are a few of my favs and no surprise with some of my favorite droids.

16113979_10210466042721212_8117250786309886962_n 15977770_10210466775299526_7460023301019920892_n 15977875_10210466828140847_8295724558710960243_n

 

By far this was my favorite Disney race so far.  And yes it was totally because it was Star Wars themed.  Characters of all kinds were plentiful both inside and outside the park.

16177624_10210467079667135_8193170896804561726_o

Getting close to the end and yes I was still this happy!! #StarWarsNerd #foundmyhappypace

My time was even better than I had anticipated despite stopping too many times to count.  I know a lot of that had to do with my training.  Since my last half in November I had been using the Aaptive App Half Marathon Training Plan.  What you have never heard of Aaptive??  Oh my friend have you been missing out….but that’s for another blog entry.  Best App I have ever used for running hands down, just saying.

16105889_10210466045521282_6213173361594755996_n 16142709_10210466045001269_4812043367240470424_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After more pics and making my way back to the hotel I showered and changed and soon the kiddos and I were off to the parks for the next few days.  Admittedly I was quite sore after this half, more so than usual.  The only thing I can think is maybe all the stopping and starting for character pictures but again #worthit.

16143226_10210466046761313_8717148310130428060_n

Me and Chewie!!!

I can’t wait to do Disney again and it will be another new race for me.  Disney Wine and Dine back at Disney World in November. Bonus…I will earn my coast to coast medal too!

 

Have you ever run Disney?  What was your favorite Disney Race?  

If not which would you like to run?

 

No Comments »

My First (and Definitely Not My Last) California Trail Race

This weekend I participated in my first trail race out here in California.  I had done only a few back in Virginia so I’m still basically a newbie, however I am pretty sure I am hooked!  I met a bunch of amazing runners out there and just set out to enjoy myself.  No pace or finish expectations.  For me this was all about the experience of trail running with a few added bonuses.  #1 it was a Saturday race which I just love and #2 I got to see some amazing friends set out on some Ultra distance racing adventures.

Hosted by Inside Trail out at the beautiful Fort Ord, the race distances stretched from the 10k to 25k, 50k  and 100K distances.  Being newer to the sport I opted for the 10k which for the most part was held on fire roads with a modest 900 ft elevation gain.  The course was a stunner none the less.  The combination of beautiful weather, lots of rolling hills and plenty of green, due to the recent rains and break in the drought, made for an awesome first trail race.

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

 Inside Trail provided well-marked trails, along with great aid stations.  In fact I was so pleased that next year I am hoping to at least participate in the 25k.  The volunteers were friendly and I felt great support being a 10k runner as I assume the longer distances felt.  Here are a few more pictures from the day.    I am a bit sore in my hips from the hills but man was it totally worth it!

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 11.48.21 AM

View from the run

and up we go….again

and up we go….again

12688085_1106832276017603_536622369618972017_n

Do you enjoy trail running and racing?  Have you ever tried?

If you haven’t I suggest you do it at least once.  Who knows you might just get hooked!

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 9.04.16 AM

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 9.04.02 AM

 

2 Comments »

Run, Hike, and Find Your Happy Pace!

How did you welcome 2016?  We had a pretty quiet night at home with family.  I worked early New Year’s morning but the place was hopping with runners from a local Resolution Run.  It was a busy morning but also great fun.  The energy of a new year and exciting new adventures were definitely in the air.

On Saturday the 2nd my husband, two of my kiddos along with a great group of local peeps headed out on a “New Year, New Adventure Run/Hike” with The Treadmill.   We headed out to Brazil Ranch 1,255 acres of rocky shoreline and rolling hillsides off Rt 1 just past the famous Bixby Bridge in Big Sur.

According to my GPS the hike was just over 5 miles up and back.  After a fairly good climb up the mostly dirt path (described as “moderate” in the trail book we own) we were rewarded with rolling trails, dotted with roaming cows and this…

1559738_10207363910169837_5897705809201323553_n

Absolutely gorgeous views of Big Sur.  Worth every single step.  I mean how often are you rewarded with a view like that?!?  And as if that wasn’t spectacular enough we were able to view whales spouting just off the coast.  Simply amazing!  God is quite the artist isn’t he!

936637_10207358939485573_7703222506630444804_n

IMG_1518IMG_1519

Like what you see?  Come Join us!  

The Treadmill is launching a new Trailhead Run/Hike initiative for 2016 and this was just the first hike of the year.

“Trailhead was born out of the desire to promote physical well-being and friendships through running & hiking while encouraging and participating in Environmental Advocacy. A family of runners, hikers, parents, children and friends of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds who cherish friendship, adventure, laughing, running & hiking while being surrounded by breathtaking beauty. We are of all speeds, abilities, ages, goals and experience.”

“Trailhead’s ultimate mission is to celebrate the area we live in, participating in what we love, with the ones we love.” ~ The Treadmill.

My family and I hope to participate in as many hikes as possible and take full advantage of the area while we are in California.  If you are local or will be out in the Big Sur/Carmel/Monterey area and would like more info click here for The Treadmill to be directed to their website for information on hikes and more (coming soon)

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 7.58.35 PM.

2 Comments »

Race Recap: Big Sur Half Marathon On Monterey Bay and a 5k to Boot

Back when I was still living in Virginia I signed up for The Big Sur Half Marathon mainly for two reasons.

  1. To keep myself accountable as far as continuing to run once we moved
  2. Because its one of America’s most beautiful half marathons

Mission completed.  I’m still running and it truly was an absolutely beautiful run.  Here’s my recap of the weekend:

5k

Late Friday night I decided last minute to run the Lighthouse 5k on Saturday morning.  The 5k is part of the Half Marathon weekend and because well why not right?  Back in VA there are plenty of events with multiple races on the same weekend.  Why not make one for myself.  The course is a short walk from my house and my youngest would be there for the annual Cub Scout pancake breakfast.  So bright and early Saturday I made my way down to Lover’s Point and signed up at walk up registration.  I decided to use this flat beautiful course as a shakeout run, nice and easy.  It was a perfect cool sunny morning for a run along the beautiful coast.  In the end I was pleasantly surprised that I completed my shakeout at a pace I use to struggle to complete a 5k at.  Could those training hills be working?  Or did I go too fast and possibly jeopardize my half?  Eeek!  

11220902_10207031737385725_2484590155314541342_n

IMG_0685

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday Night.

I met up with a few fellow Sub 30 Club friends who came to town for the Half Marathon.  We had dinner in downtown Monterey with some great food and conversation.  It’s funny how runners can just meet up and talk for hours and hours isn’t it?  Awesome peeps!  Highlight of the night, we each got to sign one of the famous Sub 30 Flags.  The flag is being sent all around the country to subbers for good luck and comradery from the main group of almost 4,000 running buddies.  What a great boost for Sunday’s race!

12226983_10208662556460240_416965690629514831_n

Subbers and I from the Sub 30 Club

 

Race Day:

I had plan A, plan B and the no fail plan C for Sunday’s half.

  • Plan A – shoot for a new PR of at least one minute
  • Plan B – shoot for an even better PR
  • Plan C – if it doesn’t happen, enjoy the ride!

California has brought me some new running buddies along with lots of hills to train on.  Hills are something that are hard to find in Virginia Beach.  So for the past 4 months I have learned the love/hate relationship of running them.  Oh and Palo Corona, which is more of a mountain really.  But I digress, in my mind if I have been running all these hills then they must have a pay off at some point.  At least I sure hoped so!  Thus my quest for a new PR.

The half itself is run like a well oiled machine.  The folks at BSIM (Big Sur International Marathon) sure know what they are doing.  Everything from packet pick up and the shuttles to/from the race were easy to find and navigate.  Volunteers were plentiful on the course as were water / Gatorade etc.  I even had the joy of having my oldest volunteering on the course!  Getting a hug (and some water) at around mile 8-9 from my son was amazing 🙂  The course has a few uphill climbs, but nothing close to what I have trained on so I did fine.  There was live music and DJ’s along the course, and post race grub was also plentiful.  But the real winner of the race… the views along the course.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 6.28.46 PM

I was blessed to bump into one of my Wednesday night running buddies in he starting corral.  I told her about my hopes to PR, she graciously volunteered herself and her husband to pace me for my goal.  Saki is awesome, and a machine, for real.

12195749_10207037740175791_5559037219342616299_n

Saki and I in the starting corral

And by the way her husband is an awesome pacer!  The two of them had just come off a 10 mile trail run the previous day and were taking it easy for the half (lucky for me!)  Her PR for this course is a 2:01!  So we decided on a plan of staying with the pace group for the first half and then seeing how I felt at the turnaround.  *Except for a quick stop (yes I failed and got in the corral to early and had to pee!! Ughh.)   We stayed with the pacers until just after the turnaround.  side note:  If that port-o-potty stop had cost me my PR I would probably never forgive myself.   After the turnaround (just about mile 7 1/2) we slowly and steadily we made our surge.

Mile 10 is usually my hardest mile, and this half was no different.  I started with my self-doubt.  “I can’t PR, I have to walk blah, blah, blah, etc” Then I started to hear the pacer’s voice from the group we had broken away from.  I may have used a few choice words, which I shall not repeat here, out loud and decided “That’s it!” “I do not want to hear them again!”  Off I went.  Did you know being mad really can make you faster?  I thought about God, my Mom and my I run 4 buddy Logan.  I wanted to do this for all of them and myself.  I kept repeating their names in my head.  Saki paced me until sometime around mile 10 1/2 – 11 and then sent me on my way.  I was in the zone and the last two miles ended up being my fastest miles of the entire race.  I really appreciated Saki more than she can ever know.

I PR’d by almost 3 minutes!  Which for me is huge!  So hooray for hills, I might be getting older but I am also getting a bit faster 🙂  And I have to admit there were also some tears of joy at the end of the race.  And as if it wasn’t already a great day I got to meet the Kara Goucher!  She ran the race and had come in first for the women with a 1:11.  An additional bonus was I actually got to see her on the course.  She is amazing.

Here are some additional pics from the day.  First California Half (and 5k) in the books!

 

12208794_10207037420567801_2137622872344741133_n

Kara and I…she may be my girl crush

12227611_10207037563371371_1980457917477288510_n

Sub 30 “Dark Side” Flag. Post Race

 

 

1 Comment »

Year of the Peeps – Do you believe in New Years Resolutions?

This year I am trying something a little different on the Facebook page and Blog.  Each month I will post a “Question of the Month” for all you “peeps”.  You know “PEEPS”, you guys, amigos, buddies, etc.  Throughout the month I will throw out some reminders on the FB page.

I will do my best to blog responses in a timely manner.  My plan is the first week of the following month but hey I have commitment issues 😉  (actually no I have life, family and crazy schedule issues, hehe)

Any who……..I have dubbed this year:

Year of the Peeps

YOTP

January 2015’s question was “Do you believe in New Years resolutions?  Why or why not?”  I got a lot of mixed answers to this question.  Some peeps use them as motivation to learn something new, some don’t believe in them at all.  Here’s what you guys had to say:

Helen M:  ” I believe in them and have kept many of them. Learn to swim, stop smoking, start running are just a few from the past. This year it is run a marathon. Signed up for First one in May.”     (wahoo Go Helen!!!)

Kristi K:  “I believe we shouldn’t wait for New years to better ourselves. But for some people they need the mental support of other starting their journeys at the same time. I have never kept a resolution, maybe that’s why I think they don’t work!”  (I also believe if you have support of others that definitely helps!)

Tiffany B: Yes and I know, it’s good to set goals and stick to them. Yet you shouldn’t wait do to it once a year. Be your best all year-long!!!”  ( I also agree Tiffany!  Have different goals throughout the year is an awesome idea!)

Aimee P:  “I do! I think they are a fun way to motivate many aspects of your life!”  (motivation is the key to improvement!)

Kristy R: “I don’t do resolutions BC I feel like they are setting up for failure, I choose to do one word that I focus on in all areas of my life throughout the year. One year was healing, one was consistency, I’m still working on this years.”(This year I have chosen to go the same route as Kristy.  My word for 2015 is “Balance”)

 

So what do you think of New Year’s Resolutions?

Thanks everyone!  Keep an eye out of the February 2015 question.  

2 Comments »

Great Gifts for Running Friends $20 & Under!

It’s that time of year again and you have a long list of Running Buddies that have helped you rock 2014.  The big questions is…”What can I give them this is running related and won’t break the bank?”

No worries!  Here is a short list of fun running related items under $20 each!

 Help your friends:

Show their fun sporty and colorful side with gifts from Runner Decals.  Decals, Tumblers and more!**

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 11.23.51 AM

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 11.26.00 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Safe with gifts from Road ID.  ID Bracelets, reflective items and accessories and more! *

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 11.31.23 AM

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 11.30.38 AM

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 11.30.58 AM

Keep fun in run in the run with gifts from Crazy Compression.  Compression socks and sleeves**

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 11.35.52 AM

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 11.37.44 AM

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 11.35.52 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Show them they are special with gifts from Momentum.  Beautiful, inspirational “Foot Note” bracelets, necklaces!***

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 11.43.58 AM

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 11.42.10 AM

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 11.41.44 AM

 

 

Great Holiday themed gifts from Gone For A Run.  In fact they have an entire Holiday Shop! Personalized Ornaments, Mugs and fun socks!***

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 11.55.16 AM

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 11.56.07 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 11.56.31 AM

Keep your essentials with you on a run with the Running Buddy Mini from Running Buddy. (additional colors available) ***

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 12.03.09 PM

 

 

Keep cool while looking hot 😉 with Hippie Runner.  Sweat Wicking Headbands in hundreds of different patterns!***

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 12.11.26 PM

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 12.10.52 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Man th

Man that chick looks familiar?!

 

Accessories from Skirt Sports.  Socks and visors.  

Under $20 when you use code RWM25AMB thanks to Running While Mommy and get 25% off!

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 12.55.11 PM

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 12.55.39 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope some of these ideas might come in handy.  Enjoy your holidays!

Do you have a favorite runner gift to give for under $20?

Disclosure:

* I am an affiliate of Road ID and will receive a percent of items sold only when my affiliate link is used.

** I am an ambassador for crazy compression and runner decals however I do NOT receive any monetary compensation from these companies.

*** I am not an ambassador / affiliated with Momentum, Gone for a Run, Running Buddy or Hippie Runner or Skirt Sports (I just really think they had some cool items to share)

3 Comments »

Why Running Slow Really Might be the New Fast: Training by Heart Rate

Please Note:  I am not a coach or professional runner.  I am writing this blog using my own experience with HRT.  You should check with your doctor or medical professional before starting any exercise regime.  🙂

Also note that my HRT plan is based on the book:

Heart Monitor Training for the Complete Idiot by John L. Parker, Jr.

There are different books with slightly different plans, choose which is best for you.

 

As a runner you have probably seen something like this…

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 8.52.34 PMAdmittedly I love this slogan!  Why?  Because I believe every runner fast or slow is still a runner.  We cover the same miles in the end no matter what the time!  But did you know running slow may actually be the key to running faster with less effort?

Welcome to the world of Heart Rate Training or HRT.

So where in the world did I even hear out about HRT? 

After reading Finding Ultra” by Rick Roll (in which he touches upon his experience with Heart Rate Training)  I remembered reading a blog about HRT on  Shut Up + Run (click here to read her post)  a while back.  Being August (at the time) and with a half marathon on the schedule for October, I decided that book was a good place to start. I was not in great long distance aerobic shape at all since I hadn’t run a half in almost a year.

I bought the book,  “Heart Monitor Training for the Complete Idiot” by John L Parker, Jr. and got started. Now I have to tell you Heart Rate based training is first and foremost HUMBLING. It will knock your butt off your running pedestal  after run #1.  But we will get more into that later. The basic idea is that most people train far too often in their anaerobic zone, even when they don’t realize it.  That was totally me and most likely, it’s also you.  While most gains are actually made in the aerobic base building zone.

Aerobic vs Anaerobic training

For the sake of keeping things as simple as possible (you know keep it simple stupid)  I will use the following colors for each word to help us keep track:

  • Aerobic (pink, easy runs where most of HRT takes place)
  • Anaerobic (red, faster running, less time is spent here in HRT)  Not that there isn’t a place for faster running because there absolutely is.  But it’s how often should you be in this anaerobic zone that might surprise you.

OK so lets step back a minute and discuss the differences of Aerobic vs. Anaerobic.

 I found this on My Food Diary :

“During aerobic conditions, the muscle cells have adequate fuel and oxygen, and they can contract repeatedly without fatigue.”

“During anaerobic conditions, muscle cells must rely on other reactions that do not require oxygen. This anaerobic metabolism in the cells produces waste molecules that can impair muscle contractions. This results in fatigue. Fatigue causes you to experience added discomfort and weakening muscles. Eventually you will need to lower your intensity level and allow your body to remove the waste molecules.”

Using the above definitions we can conclude the idea behind aerobic training is training without fatigue to build your running base.  The heart of HRT (no pun intended) is building your aerobic base. 

 Less fatigue = less stress on the body = less injury = stronger base

Build a strong base and eventually the faster pace will come.  The science behind HRT is actually pretty cool and I enjoyed learning about it.  However I won’t be going all scientific on you in this post.

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 12.18.58 AM

 If you do want more info you can check out this great article from Runners Connect it’s worth the read.

Note: There are a few different books out on HRT and they do have some variations.  

As I mentioned earlier the book I am basing this post off is the one I started off with:

“Heart Monitor Training for the Complete Idiot”  John L. Parker, Jr.

 

So how exactly does one build their aerobic base with HRT?  

Well that’s the kicker.  You do MOST of your weekly running slow at or below your aerobic training heart rate. And by slow I mean…

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 9.27.17 PM

How slow?  That depends on your specific training heart rate. And will differ for each person depending on factors like age, health, injuries etc. 

Wondering what your easy training heart rate might be?  

An fairly simple formula to use is called the MAF 180 (Maximum Aerobic Function)

Click here to find out more from 

TriFind.com about calculating your MAF training heart rate.**

**MAF is not the formula used in Heart Rate Training for Idiots but it lined up pretty darn close.  And is popular among those using Heart Rate Training.

 

And so it began:  Time to set aside your pride and get humble, really humble.

The hardest part of HRT for me (and it seems most participants) has been realizing how slow my base building pace really should be.  In fact in the beginning I had to walk…a lot.  Even today I still have to run/walk on my easy run days.  Seriously humbling.  On a happier note I have read about elite athletes (i.e.: Rich Roll) having to walk hills when beginning HRT.  That made me feel a lot better. 😉  In other words you can be a fast runner and have a crappy aerobic base.

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 9.08.29 PM

It’s also NOT easy to give up your “get out there and get it done as fast as you can” mentality.  I have read about people ready to throw the towel in after day #1 of HRT.  So if your going to do it your really need to commit to the process.  Check your pride and the door and dig in.  I admit I have strayed off the path a few times myself, but I buckled myself back in and am seeing benefits.

So what can HRT do for you?

Let me break it down in layman’s, or even better Runfyhp cupcakey (yes it’s a word, don’t judge) terms.  You will be doing most of your weekly running slowly, at first possibly even painfully slow (maybe even walking like me).  But this is how you will  begin building up your aerobic base. In our “cupcakey” example the base is the bottom half of your cupcake.  You know the part that holds up all the good magical stuff (the frosting!).  Strong, sturdy and the biggest part.

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 8.39.16 PM

If your base is not strong you won’t be built to last.  And I don’t know about you but I would like to keep on running for as many years as I can.  I’m not saying you can’t get fast any other way, BUT training at your anaerobic threshold on a regular basis is more likely to get you injured, fatigued and at some point dare I say it….you’ll drop your frosting!!!!!  Gasp!!! And no one wants that.

Injury / Fatigue =Pain / Frustration =Time off

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 8.43.26 PM

However over time using HRT at your aerobic pace you build a strong base and will begin to reap the benefits of your running potential.  That’s when the sweet stuff happens “the frosting” if you will. You begin to reach your happy pace with less effort!  Easy runs become easier at a faster pace, tempo runs become quicker AND you don’t feel beat up after a run.  Then when the time comes to race you should be strong, healthy, injury free and able to hold up and enjoy every bit of it. 

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 8.46.41 PM

OK so there is some bad news: 

  • Progress is slow, running at first is also slow.  It will take time, probably more than most of us would like
  • Patience and persistence are key.  This WILL NOT happen overnight.
  • Once you begin to reap the base building benefits you have to push yourself harder on tempo and speed work days to get your HR up.  But this is actually a good thing!

Benefits will happen.  I am starting to see progress with my pace. And best of all I feel great after a run!  It works if you have patience and stick to the program.

You might ask….Do you run slow on every run?  No.  The program I have followed from Heart Monitor Training for the Complete Idiot” includes a weekly tempo run (at a specific Tempo Heart Rate) and weekly speed work (also at my specific Interval Training Heart Rate)  These heart rates are different from my easy run HRT.  But yes all other weekly runs should be done at my easy pace. I’m trying I swear! 🙂

The Pros:

  • You will build up a solid aerobic base
  • You will run more efficiently
  • Most runs are done at an easy comfortable pace (which gets faster with time I promise)
  • It will prevent over-training or under training by working at the right intensity for each run
  • You don’t feel beat up at the end of a run
  • You should be less prone to injury
  • Eventually your pace will improve (you will be running longer and stronger at an easier effort)

The Cons:

  • I would, at least, get a HRT book, or a coach if your so inclined, to help walk you through the steps of HRT
  • Be prepared to run slow (and possibly walk) in the beginning (like painfully slow, I’m not gonna lie)
  • Progress takes time (how much depends on the starting point of your aerobic base)
  • You will need to invest in a Heart Rate Monitor (if you don’t already own one)
  • Humility and Pride need to be checked at the door BEFORE you leave for your run

For me Heart Rate Training has been a huge blessing.  I don’t feel as tired and beat up after a run, my times and paces are beginning to show improvement and I have been able to find my happy pace on almost every run.  If your worried about your pace or training I would suggest starting HRT in your “off-season” That may help you with persistence at sticking to the program.

I would love to hear if any of you decide to try HRT out.  Its working for me, maybe it can work for you too!

So who’s ready for the challenge?

9 Comments »

Coast to Coast Part 1 – A Most Awesome Running Adventure!

As some of you may or may not know my family was blessed with being able to take a month-long vacation (aka: most awesome adventure) in an RV across the US to the west coast and back.  Lol, and no we are not crazy and yes everyone made it back alive 😉  Thanks to a lot of planning (Mostly on my hubby’s part because he rocks) we made the trek from Virginia all the way to Cali and back.  I had never been further west than Nashville, TN so this was a huge adventure for me.  This is “Part 1” of my adventures  and covers our stops from Virginia out to the California coast.

Prior to our departure I had promised myself and my Irun4 buddy Logan (what you don’t know what Irun4 is?  click here…its fantastic!) that I would attempt to run, walk or hike at least 1 mile in every state in which we spent the night.  I mean when was I ever going to get a chance to do that again?  I thought it would be a great motivator to keep me running on vacation and an excellent way to keep in contact with Logan over the month-long trip.  OK, ok  I also wanted to be able to eat whatever I wanted (read “cupcakes”) and really enjoy myself without totally tipping the scale when we returned.   Win/win 🙂

BTW: I have tons (and tons) of non-running related pictures of the beautiful places we were blessed to see across America and if you have about 3 hours I would love to share them with you.  Or you can check out more pics on my Instagram account at:

Runfindyourhappypace or search #runfyhp summer

Let me start with one of the biggest highlights of my trip.  A day I will always remember.

 Check out this handsome young man!!!

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 6.01.01 PM

Meet LOGAN!  My Irun4 buddy.  Thanks to my wonderful husband and Logan’s awesome Mom. My family and I were able to swing by Logan’s part of the country and meet face to face, hug to hug and heart to heart.  He is 1000 times sweeter in person than online.  Logan has brought joy back to my running and I was honored to meet he, his Mom, and little bro in person even if only for a short while.  He showered me with hugs and presents!

Thanks Logan!!!!!

And we're off!

And we’re off!

So back to the running part of my adventure.

First Stop  Knoxville, TN

2 miles was all I had time for this day but hey I was already ahead of my 1 mile per stop goal!

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 5.32.50 PM

Little Rock, AK

Our next overnight stop was Little Rock, AK.  The hubby and I got up early the next morning and got in 4 sweaty miles.  About 3 miles in we found a local Christian High School and were able to run on their beautiful track around the football field.  We also passed a pretty field of wildflowers so I borrowed one 🙂

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 5.31.42 PM

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 6.04.14 PM

Amarillo, TX

Next stop…Texas.  One of only two nights of rain the entire trip!  Actually it was hail, and lightning and a tad scary but lucky for us it passed quickly and we never got the full brunt of it.  We did however find out the back window of the RV (right by my head leaked…ughh)  The next morning the weather was great and the hubby and I ran 3.25 miles together.

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 5.33.35 PM

KOA Grand Canyon/ Williams, AZ

I got in a short run of a mile and then walked miles and miles at the Grand Canyon!  Breathtaking.

One of the views from the campground just outside the Grand Canyon

One of the views from the campground just outside the Grand Canyon

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 5.47.01 PM

The Grand Canyon just off the trail

Bryce Canyon, UT (my favorite!!)

Ok I didn’t get an actual run in here but I hiked…a lot.  I also went on and ATV tour and my very first horseback ride! For me Utah was a hidden gem of the trip.  I loved every bit of it!  Before we left Virginia I had asked my husband why were were stopping in Utah?  Duh…now I would go back in a heartbeat!

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 5.35.50 PM

Family ATV tour

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 5.36.35 PM

The view of Bryce Canyon from my horse “Sarge”

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 5.36.02 PM

One of the many stops in Bryce Canyon, UT

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 5.37.59 PM

Mossey Cave Trail. A very beautiful hike to a waterfall!

San Diego, CA (KOA San Diego)

We made it to California!  First stop was San Diego.  I was able to get a few miles in and man was the weather nice!  I also got to put my toes in the Pacific!  Coast to Coast, Ocean to Ocean baby!

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 5.39.22 PM

A very beautiful day in San Diego!

 

Toes in the Pacific!

Toes in the Pacific!

Anaheim, CA (Anaheim RV Park and Disneyland)

Did someone say Disney?!?  Why yes I did.  My pick of the trip…Disney!  We were able to camp at an RV park that was close enough to WALK to Disneyland!  How cool was that?  So between the 15-20 walk to the park and all the walking at Disneyland and California Adventure I would say 1000 miles easy 😉  and who doesn’t love Disney!

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 5.40.29 PM

Family Shot from Disneyland. We had looked for an Olaf all day!

 

Mariposa, CA  (Yosemite West, KOA)

I was able to get in a one mile hilly run/walk here.  This girl is used to flat!  Well there wasn’t much flat going on at this KOA, but I got up early and got it done.  We also did a good amount of hiking at Yosemite that day too.

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 5.41.18 PM

 

Yosemite!

Yosemite!

Manchester, CA  (Manchester Beach / Mendocino Coast KOA) 

The adventures getting to this KOA were enough to fill a whole other blog post.  Let’s just say don’t trust your GPS at all times.  But man was it worth it!  Our favorite KOA and wonderful running and hiking adventures.  I got in an early morning run with the bonus of deer, jackrabbits and a bunny.  Later in the day we hiked a trail to the coast.  The weather was chilly but a nice reprieve from the heat of AZ, UT and Southern Cali.  And the view from the beach (accessible only by the 20 minute hike each way) was simply stunning.

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 5.42.17 PM

A nice cool run with my animal friends

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 5.42.58 PM

This hike was just so peaceful and beautiful.

Thanks for joining me on part 1 of my Coast to Coast Adventure.  Pretty cool huh!  Believe me I know how blessed I was to do this.  We prayed everyday and thanked God for our adventure!

Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon!

 

 

 

 

4 Comments »