Category Archives: Half-Marathon Training

One Run At A Time, Or How To Avoid Toxic Thoughts

Good morning loves,

I am happy to report that I’ve learned yet another invaluable lesson during my 7 km run yesterday. But before I jump to that, here is my Week 6 training schedule of half-marathon training:

Monday – 4 miles
Tuesday – 30-40 minutes of cross training: HIIT
Wednesday – 4 miles + kettlebell toning
Thursday – 40-50 minutes of cross training: booty + cardio
Friday – rest day
Saturday – 8 miles
Sunday – rest day

*Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5*

The more I runSource

So a very interesting thing happened to me yesterday. You may or may not have read my previous post on how running makes us happy, but happiness makes us better runners. I tried my very best to be positive about the run, but it was such a struggle. Nothing hurt, but I had a full blown mental battle with myself, despite trying to keep my chin up and think happy thoughts. So what happened, you say?

I think the best way to put it is: I got caught in a web of self-doubt.

A little progress each day adds up to be resultsSource

You see, it’s been a very long time since I ran a distance of 10 km and more (apart from Week 3 and 4 of my training). My runs got much shorter since I got pregnant in fall 2014. Something happened to my bladder throughout my pregnancy and I could barely stay on a treadmill for 15-20 minutes before dashing to a ladies room. *Pregger problems! Haha!*

For some strange reason, something snapped when I saw that this week’s long run is a grand total of 8 miles. Toxic thoughts invaded my mind. I mean, I’m training for a half, so this distance is definitely not a surprise. I ran much longer distances in the past. But all of a sudden I got intimidated and mental games began. As I was running, all I kept thinking about was how am I gonna do that long run. And as many of you know, it is not a good place for any runner or any fitness enthusiast for that matter to question their own abilities.

Good news, it is reversible! *Haha!*

one day at a time, enjoy the journeySource

It is so sooooo important to focus on one workout at a time and not to get too much ahead of ourselves. Just like in our daily lives, in order to be efficient and not to get overwhelmed, we must prioritize our to-do list. First things first. The same goes for running. Not only our ‘present’ workout will be more effective, but also there is absolutely no reason why we should psych ourselves out of the challenge that lies ahead. Tackle it one day, one workout at a time.

Has ever self-doubt affected your workouts? How do you avoid psyching yourself out before a long run?

Keep moving forwardSource

Missed some of my most recent posts that created great discussions among my fellow bloggers? Here is your chance to catch up:

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

 

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23 Comments

Filed under Half-Marathon Training, Motivation

5 Running Must Haves & Armpocket Review and Giveaway

Happy Hump Day y’all!

How fun was this Monday’s guest post, where coach Suz shared her 5 tips on  how to train for your first half?! A big THANK YOU to all of you who chirped in the conversation! There’s so much to learn.

First half-marathon training tips

The best part about running is that you don’t really need a gym membership or any fancy gear to get started. However, when you are new to the running world everything looks helpful. Sometimes it may get overwhelming and difficult to know what you actually need and what is superfluous. I would like to share some of my favorite running necessities that I can’t live without.

  1. Well-fitted running shoesI found some great tips on how to find perfect running shoes at Run Addicts, here are some of them:
    • Go to the store in the evening: ‘studies have shown feet tend to expand few millimeters up to 2 centimeters by the end of the day’.
    • Make sure to wear socks you normally run in.
    • There must be a finger-width space between your great toe and the shoe box and  a thumb width at the end of the shoe. ‘You will end up buying shoes that are bigger in size than what you normally wear but that’s perfectly OK.’ However, don’t exceed a finger-width span!
    • ‘NEVER wear a brand new running shoe for a race; make sure you already used them for 100 miles runs at minimum’.

    Here is some more.

    Running shoes infographic

    Source

    *Read more on this here.*

     

  2. Foam RollerI have a love-hate relationship with my foam roller. It hurts so much at first, but then feels soooooo good. If you have never foam rolled before, head over to one of my previous posts to find out how to do it as a pro!Benefits of Foam Rolling
  3. Proper Hydration

    I can’t stress enough the importance of staying hydrated not only when you go out for a run but also throughout the day. Why? Because it affects your performance and overall health!I personally like to use a water pack on longer runs *It was my life savior during the Spartan Beast race!*. I will also be soon trying out a Hydro Belt that I recently got as a gift from my parents.Regardless of what your preference is, take your water with you or simply stop at water fountains if it’s an option!
    Why dehydration is making you fat and sick

    Source

    For more hydration tips check out:
    Hydration 101 – 8 hydration myths busted & tips on how to stay hydrated this summer.
    4 Flavoured Water Recipes that will make you excited about drinking water.

  4. Hat & Sunscreen 

    Sunstroke is a real thing, so apply your sunscreen diligently and don’t forget your hat before you get outside.running away from the sun
    Source 

  5. Armpocket!

I was recently contacted by a representative from Armpocket to review their product. I was super excited about this opportunity because I use an app on my phone that tracks my runs, so I absolutely have to have it on me.

Armpocket 1

Previously I used a Flip Belt, which I still like very much. However, I always had to remove the case from my phone to be able to fit it in. *Our phones are getting bigger and bigger by the day! What’s up with that?* It worked, but it was challenging for me to take out my phone mid run. *Oh please, don’t you have to ABSOLUTELY take a picture of something? ‘Ahhh, that’s such a beautiful sunset!’, ‘Check out that beaver!’ LOL!* Also, when I run, I sweat… I won’t go too much in detail, but I think it’s a common knowledge that our phones are home to all kinds of bacteria as is.

So what is an Armpocket?

It is an armband that was engineered with many unique features that provides a comfortable and secure way of carrying their smart phones, keys, IDs and other ‘necessities’ for active people. It is weather and sweat proof. It has a touch-though screen, so you can freely use your apps. It’s moisture-wicking, anti-bacterial, natural bamboo rayon back and vented strap keep you cool and dry.

I was recommended to get Ultra i-35 based on the type and size of my phone. I picked it in Arctic Blue with a medium strap which is good for arm size 10″ to 15″.*It is available in 3 strap length.*

Ultra i-35 armpocket

Of course, I was a bit apprehensive since I’m not used to have anything bulky on my arms as I run. I also wasn’t sure if it would be comfortable and whether it would slip.

I was very pleasantly surprised! To be honest, I completely forgot that I even had it on my arm. I didn’t experience any discomfort: My Armpocket didn’t slip nor did it bounce. I also looooove that it has 3 little pockets inside, so my phone won’t get scratched!

I can assure you that you will be seeing it a lot in my pictures. It’s perfect for any workout or an afternoon hike!

Armpocket 2

My friends at Armpocket were super generous and let me do a giveaway for you guys! One lucky pal or gal will win an Armpocket of their choice. The giveaway is available only to the residents of the U.S. and Canada. All you’ve got to do to enter the draw is to participate in the Rafflecopter giveaway in the link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will be closed at 12am on April 26th (Eastern Time). I will contact the winner via email, so please make sure that you provide me with one.

Be sure to check out Armpocket Facebook, Instagram and Twitter too!

What are your must haves when you run?

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

 

32 Comments

Filed under Giveaway, Half-Marathon Training, Reviews, Running, Uncategorized

5 Pieces of Advice You Need for Your First Half Marathon from Coach Suz

Happy Monday, my dear friends!
Today I decided to do something different. As most of you know, I’ve signed up to run my first half marathon this year. This is my 3rd week of training and I’m absolutely loving it! *By the way, so does Bella! If you missed my post on how to turn your pooch into an endurance animal, you can read it here.* I may not be super thrilled to get myself out of the door every single run, yet the runners high post-run is totally worth it. Add some yoga and foam rolling to it, and I’m in heaven! *Haha!*
First half-marathon training tips
Here’s my plan for this week:
Monday – 4 miles
Tuesday – 30-40 minutes of cross training
Wednesday – 4 miles
Thursday – 30-40 minuts of cross training
Friday – rest day
Saturday – 6 miles
Sunday – rest day
Anyhow, back to the subject. I asked one of my dearest blogger friends, Susie, to do a guest post for me on half-marathon training. She is a big inspiration to me not only when it comes to running, but in general. I’d love to pick her brain if  I ever travel to Chicago and get to meet her in the flesh! Oh, and this girl is hilarious! And maybe, just maybe, you may have spotted her on Just Jillian episode during a mic malfunction in Chicago. *If you did, it was priceless!*
Without further ado, meet my beautiful friend Suz!
Susie Lemmer 2 
Hi Everyone! I am so chuffed to be here – I absolutely adore Olena and her gorgeous family, and I was so happy when she asked me to guest post on half marathon advice! For those who don’t know me, my name is Susie, and I claim the little slice of internet called Suzlyfe. Suzlyfe is a running, fitness, and healthy life blog written with the intention to educate, connect, and inspire readers to live beyond expectation! I am also an RRCA Certified Running Coach and NASM Certified Personal Trainer. Now, enough about me, let’s talk training!
So you’ve decided to run your first half marathon. The moment that you decide to embark on this adventure, you are going to hear advice, comments, and well (?) meaning suggestions from all sides. I am going to do you a solid and boil much of what you will be told to 5 pieces of advice that should guide your half marathon training. Here we go!
  1. Treat recovery and rest days like you do long runs, cross training, and all your other training days: as necessary evils/pleasures. The mark of a great runner as opposed to a good runner is one that accepts rest and recovery as being as important to the plan as the biggest workouts! And as they are as important, learn how to nail your recovery days. This doesn’t mean spending them sitting on your biscuit and doing nothing. Check out my tips for optimal muscle recovery, and also make sure that you still get up and move around some on your days off.
  2. Just because you are running a half marathon does not mean that you are going to run a marathon but know that you just might! Half marathons are kind of your make or break distance, in many ways. For a long time, I thought the half marathon was all I ever wanted to do; I had no interest in marathons. But I got curiouser and curiouser, as it were, and I decided that I would go for it (to be honest, the same thing happened with my blog writing!). And now, I’m a running coach. But to wit, remember that just because you are running a half does not mean that now you must run a full. Run a full when you want to, and the timing is best, if at all.Susie lemmer
  3. Get fitted for running shoes by an expert, and one month into training, go back and buy another pair of shoes (possibly different brand or model!). I say wait a month because you want to know that you really dig those shoes, and you will need that much time to get to the miles that will let you know that you like them and they fit properly. Blisters are not badges of honor. That is the sign of a bad fit–be it the shoes overall or just improper lacing. Once you have your two pairs of shoes, rotate them. This is how I rotate my shoes during training.
  4. Do a taste test of fuels before you go out on the road/trail. Make sure that you can stomach what you are going to shove in your mouth however many miles in before you are out there and desperate. HUGE thing here: carbohydrates must be taken with water. Not lots of water, but at least 4 oz/125 mL. Otherwise? You won’t absorb the energy, and you might just revisit that carbohydrate. Not fun. 
  5. Half marathon training (and training in general) is going to test you physically, mentally, and emotionally, but if you go about it properly, you should not get burned out from running. That isn’t to say that every run will be perfect, but you shouldn’t curse running by the time of the race. Check out my post on avoiding marathon training burn out, and think critically about your schedule, training plan, and your approach, and make decisions for how to make training sustainable
Because ultimately? I want you to love it so much that you come back for more. 

There is so much more advice that I could give you, but for that, I urge you to check out my blog, contact me at Coach Suz Training for one-on-one running coach and personal training services, and start picking people’s brains! Have fun, stay injury free, and live beyond expectations!

Find me as well on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook at @Suzlyfe and Instagram @the_suzlyfe

IMG_20150903_080417

Thank you so much for your amazing advice, Suz! *Isn’t she awesome?!* If you still haven’t, make sure to check out her blog for more advice and laughs. I can assure, you won’t be let down. I’ve been her fan ever since we ‘met’ in the blog world over 2 years ago.

Finally, don’t forget to check in with me this WEDNESDAY as I will be hosting a GIVEAWAY! *Hint: Fitness junkies, you will really love this one!*

Now it’s your turn!

Have you run or trained for a half- or even full-marathon? What is the biggest piece of advice you could share?

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

 

25 Comments

Filed under Guest Posts, Half-Marathon Training, Running

How Yoga Has Helped My Running Game

Hi friends!

Before I get into today’s topic, here is how Week 2 of my half-marathon training looks like:

Monday – rest day
Tuesday – 3 miles
Wednesday – cross train for 30-40 minutes
Thursday – 3 miles
Friday – cross train for 30-40 minutes
Saturday – 5 miles
Sunday – rest day

*You can see Week 1 plan here.*

A few days ago I got a question on Instagram: How has yoga helped my running game?

To be honest with you, I never really thought about it. I love yoga and enjoy running very much, so I simply have been doing the two things that bring a smile to my face and make me feel good. However, the question prompted me to think. There is definitely an undeniable complimentary relationship between the two.

Yoga 1

Injury prevention

There is a reason why we need to do warm-up and cool down stretches before going for a run. Yoga stretches ultimately lengthen the muscles that get tight during running. It is especially useful for those with very tight hips and hamstrings. Yoga can also help with soreness after the run.

yoga 2

Proper Breathing

It is detrimental to breathe properly when you do yoga in order to reap all of the benefits of any given pose. Better breathing during running allows a larger delivery of oxygen to the muscles, consequently increasing performance.

I find that I learned various breathing techniques while practicing yoga. A lot of people underestimate savasana, or a corpse pose, because you’re ‘simply’ lying on the floor. However, it is one of the best way to learn how to breathe properly:

  • Lie down comfortably on your back on a yoga mat,
  • Become aware of your natural breath and its rhythm,
  • Focus on raising your belly as you inhale through your nose,
  • Lower your belly as you exhale though your mouth.

yoga 3

I paid closer attention to my breathing over my last few runs. And you know what? I definitely noticed a big difference compared to how I was breathing only a couple of years ago. My breath control has improved drastically and I don’t find myself panting all the time, unless I’m giving it my all as I sprint.

Core Strength

The poses held in yoga strengthen the core, hip flexors, quads and hamstrings. Strong core translates into a good running posture which helps with your speed and endurance. It is easier to run.

yoga 5

Mindfulness

Yoga teaches us of how to stay inthe present moment, how to be mindful. In my opinion, mindfulness is extremely important when you run. It is so much easier to run when you focus on your breathing and stop thinking about how much more you’ve got to go!

On a separate note, I feel like a lot of runners don’t do yoga because they are intimidated by elaborate poses they see on the Internet…

But you should definitely give it a go. Try this awesome yoga for runners routine!

Or if you don’t have 30 minutes, give a try to this sequence.

be3a267c403f4129_yoga-for-runners-pinterest-poster-350

Source

Recently, I came across the following quote and fell in love with it.

admire someone else's beauty

In my opinion, it refers to much more than outward beauty.

It’s in our nature to compare ourselves to others. Unfortunately, instead of being inspired by their success, we, often times, get discouraged by thinking that we aren’t good enough.
The reality is, there will always be someone who is stronger, faster, more flexible, more successful, you name it, than us, but you can’t let this hinder your personal progress and growth.

To avoid this, accept your status as novice, if that’s the case. Accept where you are today, be proud of your accomplishments so far. Celebrate success of others and let it motivate you to reach for new heights. Never underestimate yourself and what you are capable of. Self-doubt is your biggest enemy. Always aim to be the best version of yourself. You are unique and you deserve to love yourself.

handstand with Sofia - large.jpg

Do you practice yoga? How has it helped you?

Want to read more on yoga?

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Cardio, Cross-training, Half-Marathon Training, Running

Running With a Dog: Turn Your Pooch Into An Endurance Animal

Heyoooo!

Guys, I can’t believe it’s already Week 2 of my half marathon training! Week 1 was fabulous. It feels sooo good to be running on a regular basis again. I love how running makes me feel inside and out. I can’t help but smile as I run. I feel happy, light and free!

Last week was a week of firsts too! It may be a bit shocking to some of you, but I started running with Bella just now. She is 2 years and 5 months old.

the best running accessory.jpg

I was dying to take her for my jogs back in 2014 when I was training for Spartan Trifecta. However, she was too little.  Yes, there’s such a thing for dogs. Puppies shouldn’t run with you until their bones stop developing, which can take up to 16 months in large breeds.

Technically, I could have started running with Bella last summer, but I was too pregnant and then recovering from a c-section.

It’s only appropriate to involve her now in the early stage of my training for a half marathon. Dogs may be born to run fast, yet it’s important to start gradually.

Runner’s World provides some great tips on ‘How to turn your pooch into an endurance animal’.  You may be surprised, but there is even such a thing as ‘The perfect running program for your dog’. It was created by veterinary neurosurgeon Laruen Talarico.

weekend walk

Here is a quick summary of it.

Week 1: Plan a 2- to 3-mile route at a mild to moderate pace 3 to 4 days this week. Make sure to pay attention that your dog is not winded and stays by your side at a comfortable pace.

Week 2: Add 0.5 mile or 10 minutes to your original distance during each of this week’s three runs. If your dog tolerates it well, try increasing your pace a bit. By the end of the week, you should be able to finish a 3- to 4-mile run.

Week 3: ‘Repeat week 2 and try to increase your average mile pace by 5 percent. The goal of this week is to consistently run 3 to 4 miles at a pace that is moderate for you and your pooch. This is a good week to solidify your dog’s running foundation and prep for adding more mileage.’

Week 4: ‘We are going to build distance again this week. Regardless of where you and your dog are with pace, I recommend increasing your distance by 0.5 to 1 mile 4 to 6 days this week. This will put most runners at a 4 to 5 mile/day regime. I strongly recommend at least one–if not two–days of rest for both you and your pooch.’

Hiking with Bella

Week 5: ‘If you both are tolerating a 4- to 5-mile run well at this point, try increasing your speed to a moderate tempo style run. Both you and your dog should feel tired afterward. I recommend repeating this 4 to 6 days a week with 1 to 2 days of rest. If your dog is still acclimating to the 4- to 5-mile distance, please do not add speed. In this scenario, repeat week 4 above.’

Week 6: ‘Add an additional 0.5 to 1 mile to your distance again this week. Most running teams should be at the 5 to 6 miles a day/5 to 6 days a week point. If you are not quite there yet, no problem! Repeat weeks 4 and 5 until you can achieve this goal.’

It is critical that you do a full warm up and cool down in order to prevent injury. It is no different for your four-legged buddy. Begin all her exercise sessions with a gentle warm-up, between 5 and 10 minutes long. It’s the best way to protect your dog from muscle strains and other pains by stretching the tendons and ligaments, and getting the blood to the muscles and nerves.

The same goes for a cool down. A leisurely saunter, followed by a couple of stretches, is the great way to finish your training session, according to Dr. Julie.

It’s not uncommon for dogs to push themselves too hard, just because they think you want them to. Therefore, it is important to use common sense, practice moderation, and watch for signs of fatigue or for difficulty in breathing. Avoid exercising your dog too vigorously in the heat of the day and keep her/him hydrated to prevent heatstroke.

It is easy for us to forget about our dogs’ paws. Unlike our feet, her paws are not protected. Take precautions against frostbite by not staying outside for too long when there is a big wind-chill. Also check for cracked pads.

Finally, be careful not to feed your dog right before or immediately after a strenuous workout. And don’t let her gulp lots of water either. Once she cooled down, you can give her a moderate amount of water.

my first 10 mile run

Do you run with your dog? Do you have any other tips?

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

 

10 Comments

Filed under Cardio, Half-Marathon Training, Running

Being in Charge of Your Destiny & Half-Marathon Training

Hi loves!

I hope you have an excellent week so far!

It’s been a somewhat different week in our household. Justin FINALLY had surgery on his shoulder this Monday. *I’m not being sarcastic… wait… actually, I am.* It only took over three and a half years to have it done…

Before the surgery

Justin dislocated his shoulder during a canoe camping accident when his canoe fell off a waterfall right before our wedding. *Dear nature lovers, please, check a map in advance, so this doesn’t happen to you!* It had been popping out ever since. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an easy fix. Doctors had to put two screws to strengthen the joint. Justin was hoping to return to work in a week. But from what it looks like, he has to stay home for at least three weeks and wear a sling for the next month even at night. Obviously, it sucks, but I’m happy to have him home.

After the surgery

My hubby is handsome even after a general anesthesia! I’m one lucky girl.

On a side note, if you have any shoulder problems yourself, this guide might save you a lot of pain and trouble.

I’ve also being reflecting quite a bit lately. And then I came across the following quote from Maya Angelou.

Maya Angelou - If you don't like something, change it.

It really resonated with me. The quote reinforces the idea that we are responsible for our own happiness. I’m not unhappy by any means. But i think now that I’m a mother figure, I want so much more to be the best version of myself. For baby Sofia, for my hubby, for ME!  I don’t want some silly reservations to prevent me from springing into action, to make things happen for me and my family. Whatever I do, I have to make it really count.I’m full of energy and determination. I know, I’m on the right path. I’ll make it happen.

Speaking of springing into action… Yesterday I’ve officially started training for my first half-marathon!

She's a dreamer

Baby Sofia was my ‘co-pilot’, peacefully sleeping in a stroller *more on running with a stroller shortly*, while I pushed it against the wind. Otherwise, it was a very pleasant short 5 km run.

Even though the race is only in the end of September, I embarked on a 12-week training schedule. It includes 3 runs/week and 2 cross training sessions. This way I’ll be able to rebuild my base by July and then focus more on a speed work and getting faster. Or at least that’s the plan.

Here’s what my plan for this week looks like.

Monday – rest day
Tuesday – 3 miles
Wednesday – 30-40 minutes cross training
Thursday – 3 miles
Friday – 30-40 minutes cross training
Saturday – 4 miles
Sunday – rest day

*I had to slightly change it to accommodate for Justin’s surgery.*

What races are you training for this year?

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

13 Comments

Filed under Cardio, Cross-training, Half-Marathon Training