I had a major case of PMS-induced bad attitude this weekend. Taylor lost a library book, and she “looks” for missing things by standing around in each room of the house, not touching anything or opening drawers and cabinets or picking stuff up, just stands there and calls it “searching.” Blake has been bouncing off the walls (well, that’s nothing new.) Ellie has learned to climb the stairs, and will take off up the stairs if anyone pulls down the gate and neglects to put it back up, and, now, instead of just walking around with random pens and markers, pointing them at stuff and waving them like a magic wand, she likes to take the caps off.
And has the scribbled-up jammies to prove it.
One entire inch of snow. (Hey, that’s considered a blizzard around here!) Our area doesn’t see snow very often, and we’re wholly unprepared for it. When it’s raining or snowing, because of our steep driveway, our mail carrier won’t come to pick up packages that have to go out. The post office is maybe half a mile away, so I’ll drive the packages there in bad weather. Had I known that the freak snowstorm would end as soon as it started, and the snow would melt within a couple of hours, I would have put off driving to the post office. Maybe then I wouldn’t have ridden my emergency brake down my own driveway, hoping not to tumble down the hill, since I was skidding on the fresh snow.
Curse words were yelled. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
If you follow me on Daily Mile, you know that I hurt my foot last week on my 18 mile long run. Because of the black toenail incident, I decided that I’d run the first half of that 18 miles on the shoes that don’t make my knee hurt, but because they are the ones that caused the black toe (and my newly ordered, larger version of those shoes hadn’t come in yet), I had the shoes that I ran my half marathon in (that now sometimes make my knee hurt, enough that I won’t brave a long run in them) in the car, and switched to them after 9 miles.
The first 9 miles were fine. About two miles into the shoe switch, a tendon in my foot started SCREAMING at me. I did a lot of walking segments, and slowed things down, but I was determined to finish. I have my first marathon in a few weeks, and I know that if something starts hurting me there, I’m going to grit my teeth and push through it, so this was good practice, right?
I made it through the 18 miles. And it screwed up my training last week because that screaming pain in my foot was a peroneal tendon strain and I could barely walk on it. I iced the living daylights out of it and rested, but that meant I hadn’t gotten my sweat on in several days, which does nothing but make me have a worse attitude.
Well, when you live in a house full of craft supplies, you tie your cold compress up with a ribbon. This is totally normal around these parts. By the way, that’s not nail polish on my big toe; that’s the remnants of Black Toe. Gorgeous, I know.
So, by Sunday, I was determined to go on my usual Sunday long run, whether my foot was ready for it or not.
My foot held up pretty well. I didn’t run the full 12 that was prescribed. Parts of the Riverwalk were icy (although someone had put down salt to help with that) from the snowstorm, parts of it are still closed or washed out from the mass amounts of rain we’ve had, so I couldn’t go very far in either direction. When I got back to the car at almost 9 miles, with my foot starting to pick up some twinges of sharp pain, I decided that another three miles wouldn’t do much in the way of training, so I ended things there. (I did do my usual post-run grocery shopping, at two different stores, so I probably walked at least another mile.)
When I got home, I noticed that a friend of mine had posted on my Facebook wall that she had just bought a treadmill, and set a goal of being able to run 2 miles by the 4th of July. Another of my (non-running) friends said she wanted to do that too.
I was like, Wait a second! Y’all can’t go planning these things on my Facebook without me!
Then I saw that they asked for tips. Whew. I was starting to wonder if my Facebook had just become a running buddy bulletin board without my knowledge.
Since I hand out tips to Bill all day (and he watches me deal with the aftermath of my mistakes, taking the opportunity to learn along with me from my mistakes), this was an easy one for me. I’m not a world-class runner by any stretch of the imagination. I’m not fast at all. But I can go the distance, and that’s what other people are looking for too. Just to go the distance.
This post is already too long, so I’ll pass on my BEST tip. The BEST thing I’ve learned after a year of plugging away at this.
I started with the Couch to 5K. Which is a good program, except that it expects you to run three miles at a 10 minute per mile pace at the end of it. Pre-kids, I could pull that off. And, actually, after a year of training, and losing more than 60 pounds, I could probably pull that off now.
But this time last year, when I was doing the Couch to 5K, there was no way I could pull off three miles in thirty minutes.
It’s a common problem, and it’s what leads to a lot of injuries. If you’re training to do anything requiring endurance, you’re better off training in Zone 2 – the heart rate zone that tells your body to burn fat as fuel, rather than burning glycogen/carbohydrates. The human body has a lot more fat stores than it does glycogen stores. Zone 2 training also builds mitochondria in your muscle cells and increases capillary density, which increases blood supply to your muscles.
The best money I’ve spent during my training was the $35 I spent on a heart rate monitor. Bill and I have this one:
Figure out your lactate threshold, and then you can calculate the zone that you should train in. We just got our heart rate monitors around Christmastime, and it caused me to slow WAY down. I had been telling Bill, ever since our 5K together at Thanksgiving, that the reason he ran out of steam was because he was trying to go too fast. He’s been struggling with the heart rate zone that he’s in right now, and has been doing a lot of walking.
But he also hasn’t gotten injured. He hasn’t gotten any overuse problems. His body is building a good foundation, and soon he will find that he can go a lot faster at the same heart rate. In the past month, thanks to the heart rate zone training, I’ve shaved a full minute off my mile time, and I’ve managed to stay in the same heart rate zone. I won’t be winning any races anytime soon. There are people running full marathons in half the time as I will. And that’s okay. The beauty of endurance running is that you get to compete against yourself. There will always be another race on the horizon to run.
Runners talk all the time about their PRs. They aren’t called PERSONAL RECORDS for nothing.
Everyone wants to start out going fast. Heck, I’d like to be going faster right now. But these things take time. It’s much more enjoyable for me to do “easy” runs than it is to get winded and feel like crap while I’m running.
So my best tip, especially for people just starting out: go slow. Build a good foundation and then you can build a castle on top of it!