Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What Worked, What Didn't and Tuesday Points

I mentioned earlier that I had written down some things that I believe either worked for me or not so much during these past few months of training.  I figured I'd put them out there for 1) my own personal reference, which is really the goal of this whole blog and 2) just in case anyone else is interested and might be either helped by it or heck, can help me!  I've only been running for a little over a year now, so Lord knows I'm no expert in anything.

In general regards to training:

1.  First of all, I think it helped to build up my base before starting a written half marathon training plan.  Being able to run 5 days a week for around 20 miles per week gave me a solid start.  Sure, I could have went right into Higdon's plan only running 3-4 days per week at lower mileage, but why would I make it harder on myself?  I feel good running 5 days per week with the occasional step back week where I run 4.  I don't see myself cutting back from this... nor do I currently see myself increasing my days per week.  Mileage, yes.  Before I attempt to start training for 26.2, I would like to be consistently running 30+ miles per week comfortably.  That's why I've said that next year is my year for that.

2.  Picking Hal Higdon's Intermediate Half plan was perfect for me.  I had already been doing some speedwork (plus in my younger lifetime I was a 400m girl), so this was good for me.  I also really think I benefited from Hal's method of running a race pace run the day before the long run.  It really helped me get used to what it felt to run on "used" legs and how to adapt and overcome that.  This has helped me many, many times and I'm sure it will continue to.  I would not hesitate to use another Higdon plan after the success with this one.

3.  Sticking to the training plan was key!  I did not miss runs, reschedule runs, or deviate from the plan aside from things I had mentioned when I started regarding my race dates vs. the written plan.  That said, when I needed to cut back on the excessive crosstraining, I did.  I initially thought I was going to be able to keep biking and going to the gym as frequently as I had been.  As my mileage increased, I simply could not keep up the routine I had.  So, I tried different things and fell into a better pattern for my non-running workouts.

4.  Utilizing MyFitnessPal when I started to question my nutritional needs/status helped immensely.  I found out that a) I wasn't eating enough in the first place, and b) I wasn't getting enough of the right things.  After I started changing some habits (and I do credit the SBBC for this as well in recent weeks!  Yay!), I noticed more energy and more sustained energy as well as quicker recovery from long/hard workout days.

These next few things are specific to the half marathon race and what did NOT work very well for JASR:

1.  I need to wear my Spibelt for my gels/gloves/stuff.  Losing one of my gels during JASR was a real bummer (it was Espresso!!!), even though I didn't end up needing it.  That said, I don't want to chance things flopping out of pockets in another race.  I didn't wear my Spibelt for JASR because I honestly haven't gotten used to it yet (my cold weather gear has heaps of pockets, so I've just been lazy and using them for most runs).  The few times I have used it, it has bounced quite a bit.  I don't think I'll ever find a belt that doesn't because of my frame.  So I just have to deal. Also, I would like to be able to carry my iPhone for Pittsburgh.  It sucked not being able to find my family after I had finished the race and a phone call or a text would have made things easier.  JASR had 2500 racers.  I know Pittsburgh will have many many more.  I'm going to start using it, whether I'm wearing cold weather gear or not, on every long run from here out.

2.  I know it was a last minute decision, but never again will I wear arm sleeves under a jacket.  I was so hot after it had warmed up a bit during the race... pretty much the entire second lake loop.  I was itching to just rip those things off, but I couldn't get to them through my jacket and the fact I had my watch strapped on over it and my bib pinned on top.  I need to make better racing wardrobe choices.

3.  For my "Last Supper", I need to go back to plain old white pasta, not the Dreamfields kind.  I love Dreamfields, don't get me wrong, but usually before races and long runs I stick to the trusty cheap white stuff.  Other kinds are high in fiber and things like inulin, etc, which... well... give me wicked bubble gut.  Not too pleasant on race morning.

4.  This race took place over a holiday weekend, but all the same I need to get to bed earlier and get better rest.  This isn't even just the night before the race, but the entire week leading up to it.  I was pretty bad about that.

5.  I'd like to have better plans for my kids.  They're not really patient with waiting hours for mom to cross a finish line, so they need something to occupy them.  North Park at least had a playground, but it was cold, so they ended up walking back to the van to keep warm for a while.  Hopefully we'll be able to think up something in the next few weeks.

6.  I'll bring a source of protein with me (I should say, have Nick meet me with some) for after the finish.  I stuck around North Park for quite a while after I finished, waiting for results, enjoying the atmosphere, watching the rest of the race, etc, and I didn't get anything other than carbs in me until I got home.  I think I may have recovered faster had I had a hit of protein... even if it is just a Builder Bar or something.

Things that worked fantastically and I will do again for sure:

1.  Get up early to eat my standard long run foods.  Allowing myself my general amount of time it takes me to prepare, eat, and then digest my breakfast really helps.  I am someone who just needs to have something substantial in their stomach to run long.  Some people can go with nothing or just a Clif bar, etc.  I can't.  For short runs I can get by with that, but not anything longer than an hour.  I don't care what time I have to set that alarm, I will get up to get in my CoCo Wheats cocktail.  :)

2.  I will take a change of clothes just in case the weather sucks, etc.  I couldn't imagine having had to run Saturday's race in what I had on at first.. lol.

3.  Again, I will take more fuel than I think I need.  I only used 2 gels for my half... the same amount that I used during my long runs (taken at mile 5 and 10), however, if I needed more I would have had it... if it didn't fall out of my pocket... grumble grumble.

4.  I will start "slow and steady" again.  I'll admit - I suck at pacing myself most times.  I'm running way too fast, then trying to make up for it by going too slow and back and forth sometimes.  I want to try and do what I did this time and keep it nice and even until I feel like I can push it to the end.

5.  I'm not going to go into my own little world with my iPod from before the gun goes off.  I'm going to socialize and enjoy the atmosphere.  I'm totally eating crow on this one as someone who has always said they would hate running with other people, but JASR changed me.  Having people to talk to and stride with and share something with really helped those miles tick off easily.  I know it is late in the season right now, but I think next year I'll be joining a running club.  Plus, I've heard that there is always something entertaining on the course for Pittsburgh, so I probably won't need my iPod anyway.

6.  I'm going to drink at most of the fluid stations and alternate water and Gatorade again.  That seemed to be a good combo, especially if I stick with what I usually do when I take my Amphipod out on long runs and just take a swig or two here and there.  If I gulp down too much at once I get wicked water belly and that sucks bad.

Well, those are pretty much all the thoughts I had post-race day after reflection on everything.  :)

Tuesday Points:
Drinking 64+ oz of water:  1
Eating 7+ servings of fruits and vegetables:  1 (you can call me the spinach queen today because I've eaten a ton of it!)
Doing the WOW:  0
Doing 38 minutes of exercise (3.51 mile run plus 5 minute plank): 3.5

Total points for today:  5.5
Total points for Week 5 of the SBBC:  10
Total points for the SBBC:  220.5

1 comment:

  1. woot woot SBBC :) I agree that fueling on the run and having something post run are the two areas I am continuing to try and improve.

    Great job!!