Tag Archives: marathoner

Crunching the Numbers

I’m feeling a bit consumed with needing to consolidate the things in my life that are accumulating faster than I can keep track. For instance, clothes I never even touch but are somehow still in my closet, various pieces of mail that need to be sorted through but just kind of sit there, and tallying my mileage progression for Eugene Marathon training.

Since I would rather talk about running more than most anything else, and since it’s a lot easier to record my training than to tackle the sweaters I bought in high school, let’s do a little recap, shall we?

Eugene Training

So, I’m currently in week 4ish of my training “plan.” I use the word plan loosely because, truth be told, I’m not following a schedule very strictly. I’m concentrating more on overall weekly mileage as opposed to achieving specific numbers on specific days. And honestly, I’m really enjoying it. It allows for more flexibility in my running and my normal life schedule, and I think that because there’s less strictness I’m mentally more excited and ready for each run. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely tracking progress/speed/splits/etc., but my focus is more on weekly totals.

That said, I logged appx. 43 miles last week, including a 16 miler on Saturday morning followed by a 4.5 mile recovery run Sunday. I normally keep the long runs for Sunday, and I hardly ever do recovery runs the day after, so this weekend was quite experimental! I enjoyed it though—and I’m feeling really well recovered today.

The week before I ran 49.2 miles, so this week will be a bit above that. I’m trying to build in a week on/ week off kind of pattern. Meaning, I’ll be adding, then subtracting, adding a bit more, etc. This seems to really work well with my body, and since I have the time I’ll be able to pull off this safer approach while still getting in several extra-long (20+) runs.

With that said, I have a 20 mile beast scheduled for this weekend. I really do love the long run, however it starts to get scary/serious when I reach that number. Not only does it require some interesting route-creation, it’s really just a long time to be running and takes a lot out of me. However, it also requires ample pasta consumption. So, I suppose it’ll all be okay.

Right now, I’ve been doing a decent job at averaging 8 minute miles on my long runs—and I’m hoping to keep it up. It’s definitely not feeling totally comfortable yet, and some days are better than others, but I’m encouraged with the consistency of my speed.

I’m coming for you Eugene.

2012 Miles for 2012

I’ve mentioned this goal before, but for those of you just tuning in—I’m hoping to run 2012 miles in the year 2012. It’s lofty, I’m not sure if it’s gonna happen, but it’s fun to keep track of the progression and—if my legs blow up—I can always change the goal to 2012 km. Right?

That said, this is what the progression looks like so far:

Miles Run in 2012: 253.3

Percentage of Year Over: 12.02%

Percentage of Goal Mileage Completed: 12.58%

Whammy! .56% ahead of schedule…practically done!

Okay, so essentially I’m right on schedule. But that’s still neat.

Alright, I feel a bit better about organizing my life already. Despite the fact that running analysis tends to make a fun hobby seem a bit more like work, once I do it I feel a better sense of understanding of myself as a runner and of my training.

The fact of the matter is that marathon training needs diligence and attention. I think we’d all like to think that we can just trot out, run as far as we want without care of worry, and whip out an effortless marathon fueled merely by a love of running.

Maybe for the Dean Karnazeses of the world, but for the rest of us—crunching the numbers is a necessity, and in the end it makes us smarter and helps keeps us healthy.

Questions: How close attention do you pay to your training numbers? Why do you think keeping track is important for becoming a better runner?

Bests, Worsts, and Scary Things.

So yesterday’s post got a little serious—I know, I’m sorry for my susceptibility to getting all  existential in my writing (the English major in me lives on).

Anyway, if you read yesterday’s post, you know that I think we should take advantage of the New Year, and I personally intend to use the opportunity to highlight some of my goals.

I use the term goals instead of resolutions because most of them have already been in existence for a little while. My specific running goals were detailed in my running wish list, and I’m planning on prioritizing those throughout this year’s races and training. I do have an overarching resolution, however, that I feel encompasses several areas in my life—both running and otherwise.

But first, I’ll being with a quick New Year’s recap. BF and I spent the evening visiting with some of our friends from high school, and it was low key but all-around a good time. We all went to the fancy shmancy hotel in our hometown and pretended to be upper-crust socialites that can afford $10 drinks and lavish suites. Hint: We can’t. Instead, we lounged in the overly-manicured hotel bar/lobby/hang out area and shared our best and worsts of 2011.

If you’re interested, I would say that I had 2 Bests of 2011. Yea, yea I know it’s cheating, but ties are allowed in your own list-making rules.

But I’ll start with my Worst of 2011, because I like ending on a good note. The worst part of 2011 was being injured for 3 months, completely unable to run and even walk correctly. I had full-fledged gimp status from March to June, and let’s just say in the beginning I was not happy about it. I cried, I was angry, I was lost. In the end, though, this worst turned into a very important lesson for me, and the harshness of the situation turned out to be bittersweet. I am now a more careful, smart, and balanced runner—and it took a humbling and disabling experience for me to reach these new understandings about running. So yea, it was a worst, but fortunately I was able to make the most out of a crappy situation.

The beginning of the end. Days before the death of my hip flexor.

Now onto happy things:

My first Best of 2011 was officially moving into a place with BF. Sure, we started living together toward the end of 2010, however in July 2011 we signed an official lease together, bought furniture together, the whole real-world-relationship shebang. It was great and a true highlight.

Look! We are Seattle residents!

The other Best somewhat goes without saying—running my first marathon.

You've probably never seen this photo before, right?

Two years ago, I would have laughed in your face if you asked if I could run a marathon, or even a half-marathon for that matter. Even months before signing up, I felt that a marathon was for the “other” runners, and I was content with the 13.1 distance. However, after recovering from my injury, I realized that only sticking with the 13.1 distance was really playing it safe. I knew I could go further, and I knew that if I worked at it enough I could build to doing a full marathon. Also, I knew that following a strict, regimented schedule would help me from overdoing it and abusing my running as I had been before.

So I went for it, and it was amazing. The training was intense, as were the nerves and apprehension leading into the race, but there has not been anything more rewarding in my life than seeing the “Mile 26” marker and mustering all my strength to sprint to the finish line.

So what’s next?

Well, inspired from the marathon and my overarching quest toward expanding my horizons, I’ve decided that this year will be all about alleviating the things that scare me.

No, I won’t be re-watching The Ring or visiting graveyards, however I will be facing head-on the things in my life that I either avoid, shy away from, or simply ignore based on the fact that they are hard or daunting. I find that too often there are things in my life that I settle with simply based on the fact that they are comfortable and easy. A simple example would be driving my car down the massive hill by my house because running up it at the end of my run is simply too hard.

A bigger example would be deciding to spend my entire weekend at home instead of calling my friends and making plans, because sitting on my couch and perfecting my hermit status is easier than mustering up the energy to go out.

{Dexter, you do not help with this habit}

The fact is, in each of these examples, I know myself and I know that taking the harder, less-convenient option is almost always much more rewarding. When I complete a long, brutal hill, I feel much more satisfied in my run overall. When I actually go out with my friends (whom, mind you, I adore) and spend some quality social time, I am a much more well-rounded person and frankly happier overall.

When we are able to identify the things in our lives that we do based on comfort and routine, we can recognize that there is an element of apprehension and curiosity missing. And understandably, because facing the unknown as opposed to the familiar is typically the much easier choice. However, when we acknowledge our fears and purposefully face them, we are given a rejuvenating sense of accomplishment. These fears can be monumental or miniscule, however opting for the more challenging course gives us the opportunity to expand our experiences beyond that which is comfortable. Comfort is good, however we cannot grow or learn without reaching beyond our safe zones.

I look at this “resolution” to face the things that scare me as more of an overall mind shift. I might be able to get up and get sweaty every morning, but when it comes to laziness and taking the easy way out I am also a master. I want to get rid of this mentality; I know myself well enough to know that sticking to the mundane, simple routines of life do not stimulate my need for new experiences. I know that if I can be intentional about facing the things that I’m scared of, I will begin to establish a greater understanding of my strengths, my weaknesses, and my overall potential.

2012, fearlessness is the name of the game.

Gah, got serious again. Something about the New Year is getting to me apparently. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading, and I highly encourage you to think about the things you’re afraid of and how you can overcome them. Because I guarantee—you can.

Question: What scares you? 

 

Reading and Running

Hello!

I hope your Monday has been a little bit more action-packed than mine. Unless you count sitting on the couch at home working, absorbing heat from your laptop, and eating your body weight in peppermint bark as action-packed—and in that case I have been pro-duc-tive!

NOT.

It’s alright…Monday tends to be slow and steady for me anyway.

Today, I wanted to talk a bit about a recent addition to my passion for running—one that has not only helped get me out on the roads but has inspired my overall mentality and purpose behind running: Reading about running!

It sounds somewhat simplistic, however I honestly had not thought to read words from other runners until one of my friends ended up shoving a book in my face, proclaiming that I “HAD” to read it.

Now, mind you when I first started reading books about running, I was still very much injured and pretty bitter toward anyone who had the mobility of their legs.

Too much? Yes. At the time, though, I was going through some serious running withdrawls, and I was jealous of anyone who had the capacity to run even one mile without their hip searing in pain (this was me for three months).

However, I wanted to feel like I was still a part of the running community, and the only way to do that was the bit the bullet and keep up with those in the running world.

This is when I discovered Dean Karnazes. Specifically, his book Ultramarathon Man.

Dean has been featured in every media channel possible; magazines, television, movies, newspapers, etc.—they all want to tell a piece of Dean’s story. Those of you who have never heard of him, I’ll give you a brief synopsis of this ultramarathon man:

He’s one of the most incredible athletes in the world, he has inspired thousands of runners and non runners to reach further than they ever thought possible, and he is certifiably and positively NUTS.

This dude has run 50 marathons, in 50 states, in 50 days in a row. He has run a marathon to the South Pole, he has done the Badwater ultra multiple times (the hardest footrace on earth), and he has run across the United States stopping only for brief naps along the way. Additionally, he has done every crazy/inhuman running race imaginable, and he continues to come up with new ways in which to challenge the potential of the human body.

And all because of one small, simple fact: He loves to run.

Despite the fame that Dean’s acquired through all of his coverage, it is a genuine love of human endurance that keeps his endeavors alive. Reading his books is addicting; certainly, his stories and adventures defy all logic in terms of athletic accomplishment—but to me the most engaging parts of his writing are just how possible he makes it all sound.

Sure, his resting HR and running form may rank in the superior range, however for the most part he is just an average guy who found something that he loved and went after it. Reading about the feats he takes on, absurd as they may be, he makes the goal of doing a marathon or even a 50k seem, well, do-able.

When I first started reading Dean’s books, I was convinced that I was a half-marathoner through and through, and if I were ever to try and do a full marathon it would be years away and a one-shot type of deal.

After being so inspired by his accomplishments and humble story-telling, I was not only motivated to complete a full marathon, but I actually believed that I could do it. I was done with being an injured, reckless runner who limited herself to only one distance. No, I was going to take the next step, throw my doubts aside, and go for the beast of all races.

And here I am, 5 months after recovery and not only have I completed one marathon, I’m planning my next year around the next marathons I want to do.

Okay, I realize how obnoxiously cocky this all might sound—but I promise I have a point. While my inspiration came from a variety of sources, I really believe that reading about running was and is one of the most effective means to achieving my goals as a runner. These goals can be as big as running a marathon or as small as getting out of bed in the morning for a short run, but I have come to fully appreciate the power of words as a runner.

One of the best things about runners is their unwavering ability to provide their wisdom, experiences, and support to other runners. This is why I believe runners love to read books, magazines, blogs, and even Twitter feeds about running. Running is a sport that forces us to be humble, patient, and smart—but it also yields an intangible amount of glory, peace, and feeling of accomplishment. The dichotomy of these two facets of running makes runners eager and willing to share their experiences with others and also incredibly receptive to hearing stories from others.

There’s a reason why the familiar “runner’s nod” is so genuine no matter where you are.

I love this about running, and frankly I can’t get enough of reading the words of other runners. There is no “right” way to run, and therefore reading about what works for some gives a multidimensional guise to this sport that is so simple in principle.

One of the primary reasons I started my blog was because I became so hooked on reading other blogs about running. I stumbled upon Ali on the Run, a NYC based runner and writer, and from there I found an entire network of females my age who loved all the same things I do—namely, running.

I got enamored with reading all their stories of training, successes, failures, and everything in between that makes up the lives of runners. I loved the idea of combining two of my greatest passions—running and writing—into one single space, and this is how Run Birdie Run was born.

I want to highly encourage anyone in search of some motivation, inspiration, or simply entertainment to try out the stories of runners. We are a group of people who seek nothing from our sport other than personal success and endorphin-induced happiness, and somehow we can’t seem to talk enough about it.

Here are some suggestions (both print and web) I have if you’re interested in some good running reads:

-Dean Karnazes’ Ultramarathon Man, Run!, and 50/50

-Kristin Armstrong’s Mile Markers book and blog

Runner’s World Magazine 

-Running blogs. They are all over, and once you find a few you love—you’ll be visiting them daily!

I’m in the midst of acquiring Soul Sisters, Running on Empty, and Chi of Running as my next running-based reads.

What kind of running reading do you do? Suggestions? Does reading about running keep you inspired, or does it overwhelm you?

“Santa, can you hear me?” Running Wish List

First things first. Yes, my title is referencing the magical Britney Christmas song, “My Only Wish This Year.”

It will remain my favorite Christmas song of all time for the rest of my life.

Alright, now that we’re all caught up on my shamelessness, let’s talk about running.

First, THIS:

HA!

An old friend of mine from high school—who I ran with—sent me this the other day, and I got a big kick out of it. I think race photos are very humbling proof that if you think you look hot when you run, you’ll always be wrong.

Anyways.

Today, it happened again. I don’t know what’s going on with me—some sort of brain metamorphosis; I spent about 85% of my run in voluntary silence, and I loved it.

My brain juggled around numerous thoughts on running, writing, blogging, and other miscellaneous wonderful things. While I was playing this fun game of weaving through various thoughts and enjoying the crisp {frigid} morning air, I began thinking about my upcoming running goals. The list is somewhat substantial, both in length and content, and I can only attribute it to the fact that running is my most treasured hobby, therefore it comes with a lot of extraneous planning.

So, today—in honor of the holiday season—I thought I’d share with you my “Running Wish List.” My actual Christmas list is way too far-fetched and idealistic, and obviously I don’t want to be known as the materialistic running girl who wants anything and everything to do with Lululemon and workout gear. No, a “Running Wish List” is not only more plausible, but it offers a lot more potential for self fulfillment than a new pair of fabulously cut running tights.

So, without further ado…

This year in my running career I hope to…

1) Do a 12k in under an hour

Ah I hate saying these things out loud, because somehow it makes me feel much more accountable than keeping them in the back of my mind. However, this wish is due to the upcoming race BF and I are doing called the 12ks of Christmas. However hard I try, I cannot go into a race without a specific number pulsing in my head, and in this case it’s under the 60 minute mark. I will have to run pretty dead even 8 minute miles to do the 7.45 in under an hour, and although I’m confident I have it in me—it’s still pretty fast, and there isn’t much wiggle room

2) Get faster

I have been very purposefully resisting the plunge into integrating speed work into my routine. The fact of the matter is I would so much rather go out for a nice long, leisurely run than spend an hour on the track doing intervals and sprints. Understandable, right?

Unfortunately, I do want to get faster and speed work is the obvious gateway to that wish. Fine, I give in. 2012—you’ll see me on the track. Plus, my local running store West Seattle Runner offers weekly custom speed workouts. I have no excuse. Maybe I can use my old track spikes?

3) Get a BQ

Again, I can’t believe I’m saying this out loud. Now it’s real. Affirmed by the officiality of cyber space documentation. (No, officiality is not a work—but it should be and you get it.)

For those of you who don’t know, a BQ stands for Boston Qualifier—meaning you ran a  qualifying time to get into the Boston Marathon.

Okay, I KNOW I have only run one marathon and the loftiness of this goal is completely irrational and far fetched. I know this, trust me. However, the sprinter inside of me cannot help but want to reach the next level. And when your first marathon time is only 7 minutes away from qualifying for Boston, you cannot help but wonder how possible it could be. Those 7 minutes stick in my head pretty consistently, and I know that with some good solid training I can shave off that time. Also, Boston continues to lower their qualifying times, so if I don’t go for it soon the time will only be do-able by the Olympic hopefuls.

BTW…thanks a lot for this, Boston.

4) Get a new half marathon PR

I am seriously convinced that the race I ran my half PR in was a fluke. I ran way faster than I ever do, and I still have a hard time understanding how I was able to pull it off completely unintentionally. Therefore, the thought of breaking this PR is really daunting to me. Just doing the math of how fast those 13.1 miles need to be gives me a nervous stomach.

I haven’t done a half since that PR (mostly due to my injury and marathon training),and since my endurance/weekly mileage is higher than it was before running that race—I’m on a mission to set an intentional PR, no matter how gut-wrenching it might be.

5) Do more yoga, stretch more often, and fuel more appropriately

Okay, so I thought I would put a wish out there that was a bit more easily accessible, and doable on a day-to-day basis. The fact of the matter is that when I take good “running care” of myself, I’m a much happier and better runner. It sounds simple, but I think that all the extras that are required in this sport can easily fall to the wayside. Which is ridiculous, because as I’ve written before—the simple things such as proper stretching, adequate fuel intake, and ample hydration make all the difference when it comes to running performance.

In the next year, I’d like to try and do yoga—here goes—3 times a week. I feel so much better when I keep up on a yoga routine, simple as that. So despite my reluctance and excuses (typically consisting of wanting to sit on the couch and watch Jeopardy instead), I am vowing to get on my mat more. Additionally, I could do a much better job of pre and post run fueling and hydrating. I cannot tell you how many times in the middle of a run I think, “Why the F did I not just drink more water yesterday?” And then after I’m done, once again I don’t drink enough water. This is not acceptable as a runner—and I plan on changing this bad habit. Also, I’ve decided to eat more bagels and pasta—because, you know, as a runner I should. I get too wrapped up in getting all my food groups in that sometimes I forget—oh yea, on the night before a long run I should probably up the carbs. Ridiculous, I know. And this is a “wish” that is really freaking easy/awesome to fix.

 

So there you have it. My “Running Wish List” is out there for the “world” to see. It makes me nervous to say some of those bigger goals out loud, as they’ve remained in the depths of my running psyche. However, putting them out into the universe—even just in the sense that I can go back and read that I’ve said them—actually helps motivate me. And ultimately, saying them out loud is the first step to making them a reality.

Now You! What are some of your wishes, running or otherwise?

 

Training for 26.2

Hi!

Today, I thought I would talk a bit about the marathon training schedule that I followed, as I’m about to start it up again in the new year. As you may know, I was injured for 3 months before I started my marathon endeavor, so as I was deciding on a training routine—I was pretty careful to make sure that running wouldn’t take over all my time.

After recovering from being hurt (bad hip flexor strain) I knew that my body needed lots of different forms of exercise to keep it healthy. Running is a beneficial, fulfilling, and all around glorious sport, however it comes with a hefty “handle with care” caution tag. In order to stay a sane and injury-free runner, there are—in my opinion—three essential things to incorporate into your running routine: Yoga, Cross Training, and Rest.

Yoga

Sure, you can consider this cross training, however I believe that practicing basic yoga at least once a week is essential for distance runners. Yoga offers your muscles a lot of relief from all the heavy impact of running, it helps prevent excessively tight leg/back/core muscles, and it centers your mind in the most deliciously peaceful way. It took me a long time to start liking yoga, but once I finally figured it out I can’t imagine my running routine without it. Plus, if you’re a runner, I can guarantee yoga will feel really damn good.

Cross Training

When I was injured, I learned to love cross training, and I found that once I was out on the roads again, the muscles that I had strengthened from participating in other activities actually helped my running. Developing the smaller muscles around your big running muscles helps prevent injury and it can improve your flexibility and speed. I can honestly say that doing sprints in spin class helped with my marathon finish time more so than my long runs.

Rest

Again, this realization took a while for me to come by, however resting from exercise is not only essential to preventing injury and burnout, but it makes you a smarter athlete. Even the most elite athletes and runners in the world still take a rest day to allow their muscles and minds to relax.

The fact of the matter is simple: if you never rest, you will burn out—and you don’t want burn out to come in the form of a sidelining injury.

 

Anyways, integrating these three essentials were very important in my marathon training. I got my 12 week training schedule off the internet, and tweaked it a bit to match my own timeline and mileage. With that said, a typical week in my schedule looked like this:

m: rest

t: 8-9 miles, lifting/core work

w: cross train and yoga

t: 10-12 miles, lifting/core work

f: cross train and yoga

s: 6 mile “shake out” run

s: long run (ranged 14-22 miles)

 

Now, keep in mind that when I designed my training program, I was already running a decently high weekly mileage (appx. 35-40 miles/week). Therefore, I was able to use a shorter training time frame (12 weeks as opposed to the standard 16-20), and I trained up to 22 miles instead of the more common 20 miles.

This schedule worked really well for me. I felt like I had a great balance of running and cross training, and because I wasn’t running 5-6 days a week (like some programs) I mostly enjoyed all my running days. I was fearful of starting to loathe my long runs, however by sandwiching them between a shake out run day and a rest day, I found that they were a fantastic challenge to look forward to each week. Sure, I had very little social life and they took a good 2-3 hours out of my Sunday, but in the end it was totally worth it.

So worth it, in fact, that I am currently in the stages of planning my next few marathons for 2012!

As of right now, I am planning on doing the Vernonia Marathon in April (a small race along a gorgeous course), potentially the Seattle Rock’ N’ Roll in late June, and the Bellingham Bay Marathon in September.

Wow, writing that down seems daunting.

However, I am really committed to establishing a competitive running routine. I’ve been an athlete and competitor my whole life, and running offers a great way for adults to still compete with others but mainly with themselves. I never plan on winning a race, however continuing to push myself, lower my times, and continue improving is incredibly rewarding and gratifying. Does it come without hardship, bad runs, self critique, or all around shitty experiences? Absolutely not. But the bad only makes the good that much better, and I’m a big believer that any experience is good experience.

Yes, even if it’s being forced to not run for 3 months after overdoing it.

We learn this way, and ultimately we become better runners.

Anyways, enough psychological jargon.

As I take on my next marathon, I am planning on actually increasing the distance of my long runs, and will perhaps train (gulp) past 26 miles. This is a training method used by some, and as long as I go slow and build even slower, I am thinking that this technique could work for me. I want to do the Seattle Rock’n’Roll just over 2 months after Vernonia, and I’m thinking the only way to do this successfully is to up my overall mileage.

We will see though, nothing is set in stone—and with the other distance races I have planned, who knows what will happen.

What marathon or half marathon training plans have you used? What were some successful side activities you did to help your training?

 

Some Thoughts on Cross Training

Hi! How’re you? If the answer isn’t,”Hey! I’m awesome!” just remember…it’s Friday, there will soon be pie and green bean casserole in your belly, and Christmas music is socially acceptable in less than a week.

Don't even mess. This is Christmas music GOLD.

Can you tell where my brain is right now?

This morning was one of my favorite weekly workouts, Spin ‘n’ Swim. Really creative name I gave it there, huh? The combination is pretty self explanatory: It starts with a spin class with my favorite instructor Jeoff and then finishes with a steady pool workout. I like this combo for a few reasons, but mainly because it combines two different types of cardio and it offers some active relief from the pounding my muscles endure during running. Also, swimming is magical. In all aspects of the word. I didn’t always feel this way though…

I’m currently in my third running life. Running has lives similar to the way cats have lives, by the way. No, not really, but I do believe that our perspective, habits, and overall mentality about running can really change depending on where we are in our lives. With this said, I’ve currently be re-born into running three times, and I have to say I’m loving this third time around. I enjoy my runs more, I became a MARATHONER, and I feel like my relationship with running is at its best. Honeymoon style, nothing but love.

"Never mind the fact that I can no longer walk, I'm a marathoner!" Sorry PDX Marathon, obviously this is not my photo.

Part of the reason I feel so centered as a runner at this point in time is due, in large part, to cross training. I have been very conscious about keeping other activities interspersed in my running routine, and as a result, I don’t get burned out, I haven’t gotten injured(knock on your table please for me), and I’m much more balanced in terms of my physical fitness mentality. I used to be the kind of runner who stuck her nose up to any other kind of “exercise.” Seriously, I was a running brat who thought that the elliptical was for rehab patients and any workout less than a hard 9 miler wasn’t even worth it. Who was I?! A crazed running addict is what, and although I would still say I have the same affinity for a hard running workout, I drove myself into the ground with that mentality. Literally… I got hurt and was excommunicated from the running world for three months.

Lesson learned, something had to change.

I realize I’m rambling a bit, but I do have a point.

Cross training is not only beneficial, fun, and different, but it is necessary for maintaining a healthy and enjoyable running career. I credit the cross training I did alongside my marathon training for my finish time almost more so than my weekly long runs. Yes, I said it. Spinning helps develop speed, and it strengthens the muscles around your running muscles which ultimately improves runs. Spinning is also a great way to strengthen your cardio and get really sweaty (especially if you work with Jeoff) without the heavy impact of running. I could go on and on about spin—for anyone who loves to challenge themselves, listen to loud pump up tunes, and work out with a group, spin is awesome. I’m a lone wolf when it comes to exercise, and even I get a jolt of enthusiasm when I’m on a stationary bike with a bunch of other people. Jeoff also sings along to Lady Gaga and changes lyrics to encourage us even more: “YOU’RE on the edge of GLORY” C’mon, who doesn’t love that??

I’ll save some commentary on swimming for another time, however I want to highly encourage all runners to treat running like any other relationship. Without some TLC (cross training, yoga, and off-time) running can turn on you and your relationship becomes mundane, draining, and ultimately abusive. It sounds cheeky, however I speak from very personal experience when I say that running should not be taken for granted, and one of the keys to a lifelong relationship with this sport is to treat it and your body with respect.

That got serious there, isn’t it supposed to be Friday?

Clearly, this is a topic I care a lot about.

Another long post…what am I a new blogger or something? More pictures to come soon, I promise!

Now I’d love to know…what’s your favorite way to cross train??