Day 307: First day of Fall

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Rejoice! Fall is here!

I love autumn. It’s my favourite season by far. Summer is great and winter and spring both have wonderful things about them, but nothing beats fall. Maybe part of the reason is that I was born in the fall; nevertheless, there is some magic in the fallen leaves and rainbows and the colours of the foliage. Not to mention that the weather is absolutely perfect for running.

Today, finally, after being ill and generally slacking, I ran. It wasn’t a good run or nothing special, but I made it out of the door (what was hard). The Morat-Fribourg race is in just 10 days and I better get some form back before it happens. Moreover, this race is mostly uphill so I even took the tiny little hill in the park today. It’s going to be a challenge to run 17k uphill; after all, the Netherlands is flat as a pancake and it’s hard to find anything remotely resembling that.

I can’t say I am particularly proud of the run today, but I have to make the best out of the last four weeks before the Amsterdam half marathon. My registration letter has arrived already, so this thing is real. Kinda scary, too.

Distance: 5km
Time:       32:42

Do you like to run in the autumn?
Which is your favourite running season?

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Not yet dead

There’s no way to hide that any more: The last two months I have been struggling with running. Greatly. Partly because of how busy I was at work and during my amazing holiday in Portugal and Switzerland.

However, the half marathon in Amsterdam is in just 5 weeks, and I have 2 more races before that. It is about time to get back on track.

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Hereby I am making a promise to myself, taking you all as witnesses, to follow and complete my training plan and get ready for the big event. Maybe that’s going to help me keep myself accountable.

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At the same time, I have some holiday experience and recaps to share with you. Here is what you can expect the following weeks:

  • My subjective guide to running in Lisbon, Portugal
  • Tips on running while on holiday
  • Recap from my holiday
  • Product reviews of some of my running gear
  • Going back to my beloved tribal fusion bellydance
  • The recipe for the best pizza crust you have ever made (stolen from MRB)

In meantime, I would like to invite you to my instagram for a sneak peek of what’s to come and more frequent updates!

What have you been doing this summer?
Any plans for races coming up soon?

Day 227: Goodbye old, and the longest run so far

Goodbye, old friends

Last Sunday, I retired my first pair of running shoes.

Last Sunday, I ran the longest distance to date, 14km, and with no walking breaks.

It is hard to describe my feelings on this run.

On the one hand, I felt strangely emotional, even a bit sad. After all, these shoes took me places I never thought I would reach. My first running steps. My first race. Three different countries. Cold runs which left my toes numb and runs which made me almost faint from the heat.

On the other hand, I felt exited for the new distance and a slightly new route.
After I finished, I felt totally badass. That’s like 2/3rds of a half marathon, and, to be honest, I could keep going. Even though I was tired, for the first time I believed, deep down, that I can really do this.

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I can run a half marathon in October. Sure, there’s much needed training still ahead, but now I feel like I am up to the challenge.

Lastly, I did this run in the evening. After all this talk about morning running, I still struggle to get up and fit my runs in early. Well, tomorrow is another try. One day, I’ll get there.

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Distance: 14km
Time:       about 1h28mins (my app crashed, so I don’t know the exact time)

P.S. The next run will be on my new shoes! Stay tuned!

June summary and the 500km milestone!

July

Look around, it’s July already! Time flies…

With the break of the month, I have broken the 500km milestone since I started running in November last year. That sounds quite impressive, doesn’t it?

June marked the start of my 20-weeks-long half-marathon training, and here is a short summary of the month:

  • a total of 14 runs, in 2 countries!
  • one race (5km in Fribourg, Switzerland)
  • a total of 86.5 km
  • Pinkpop!
  • Progressive runs are FUN and generally great, but running in the heat isn’t…

Through July I will increase my mileage and work a bit on the speed in the balanced training phase of the plan. The heat will make it a challenge, but I determined to get the work done.

At the moment it is very, very hot (36°C or 97°F), and, so far, I have failed my morning get-up-and-run-before-it-gets-too-warm two out of two times. It is so hot races get cancelled, so please remember: drink plenty of water, use sunscreen, and wear a hat.
This weather looks beautiful, but it can be dangerous!

Infused water

Make infused water to stay hydrated!

Days 214 & 217: Back to progressive runs! YAY!

I admit it, I had a couple of days of a breakdown where I couldn’t make my time or my mind for running. Or yoga. Or anything, really. But yesterday was a breakthrough, I went for yoga and I had a great run, and my mood got lifted a lot. So glad I am back to my old running joy.

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It took a change of the mindset.

Day 214: Monday Planning Fail

On Monday, I had very little time, but I was determined to get my run nevertheless.
I planned that, if I come home and cook directly afterwards, I would have about 1.5 hours before going to run, showering and heading out. This plan got shifted because I had to do some overtime and arrived home 45 minutes later than expected. I set off to cook nevertheless, ate my dinner, changed to running clothes, and started to buzz around in the flat while waiting for my stomach to settle.

Of course, 45 minutes later – at my pre-planned running time – I still felt pretty full and not running-ready. I gave myself another 15 minutes, but things didn’t go any better. Faced with a difficult decision: wait longer, run, and be late for the appointment in the evening, or skip the run completely, or go regardless of anything, I went with the last option.
It wasn’t the smartest.

The run was horrid and difficult, and my stomach was bugging me all the time. It was supposed to be a progressive run, but speeding up was not an option, and I had to walk sometimes. Seeing how slow and generally meh-ish it was going, I decided to stop after a 5k and went home kind of disheartened. At least I took it back by some dancing later that evening.

Day 217: Thursday’s 7k

Now, this run was a completely other story! If I am to be honest, I didn’t feel like going for a run, and I already took an extra day break. Things were looking generally bleak. Fortunately, I went for a yoga class with the goal of running afterwards. It meant that I didn’t have to go for a run, but go for a yoga; and that was the first change of my mindset required to get me back on my track.

Yoga went great. There weren’t many people at the studio, and the poses went smoothly for me that day. After that, I put on my Fribourg running cap, which was completely unnecessary by this point in the evening, and set off to attempt another progressive run.

I don’t know if I had negative splits and how progressive it really was. But it didn’t matter.
I started off very slow, and I was thinking of how to time the pace throughout the run. And then, the second mindset change happened. I decided it doesn’t matter, really. Or maybe it does, probably it does from the training perspective, but… I have no Garmin. I use the simple asics app for android, which provides no information on splits. I decided to just go with my gut feeling, and it felt really good. The last km I was huffing and puffing like a steam engine, but I was able to uphold a very fast pace.

I am back in my groove now and I can’t wait for today’s progressive run! 

Day 185: Half a year of running!

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Can you believe that? I’ve been running for half a year already. I went from barely going 1k without walking, through getting scared of 3k, to running my first 10k race, and soon training for a half marathon. It’s been a great journey so far. Here’s to many more months and years of running.

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At the same time, with today’s run I arrived at 400km total since last year November. 400km! Unbelievable. And I have no desire to ever stop.

It was a great run today. So great, Morgan Freeman should have narrated it. I wanted to do it earlier in the day, but, in the end, it was all the way in the evening. It didn’t matter.
I felt fantastic, the weather was nice and warm, I was running in shorts and a tee, I rested halfway with a bit of walking when I felt tired, and I stretched with some yoga at home afterwards.

As much as I can’t wait to start with the half marathon training, I also feel this great freedom from the lack of pressure in the recovery phase; just letting my feet do their thing and not caring about the time or anything. The resulting pace was very good, anyway.

Distance: 5.5km
Time:       32:10

Finally, I would like to congratulate a dear friend of mine on her first 5k, just two months after she started running! She’s amazing and doing great, you go girl!

What is your strategy for recovering after a race?
How long do you take to prepare for a half-marathon?

Days 165-171: Week 8 of 10k training

11212611_10152886810022717_3959023713251531796_oHappy Mother’s Day to all who celebrate it today!

And, first of all: Congrats to MRB for his first race! He smashed the GP Bern yesterday and he told me he enjoyed it thoroughly. Can’t wait for the Amsterdam 10k!

The race is in a week. In a week! I am starting to feel weak in the knees for that. That’s a bit early, isn’t it? But there’s only two runs left, and then, hey, the R-day. I have been training really hard and I actually need to cut back a little bit, because the last week has had one major theme: cramps. I was certainly overdoing it.

Wednesday – slow 5k

Yup, two rest days to start the week! I only did some yoga on Monday. I also did yoga on Wednesday – a lot of it, actually, and I had a pretty nice evening run, concentrating on going slow. I noticed that, while going slower than comfortable place, my Achilles tendons tend to stiff up. I guess that’s because I tend to strike more on the heel when I run slower? No idea.

Distance: 5.7km
Time:       37:03

Thursday – fast 10k and bootcamp training!

My first morning run in ages! I knew how busy would I be, so I decided to get up earlier and run before work. And it was great. It started sunny, then it started to rain – hooray rainbows! – and it finished pouring. I ended up soaked, but it was really nice anyway. Not to mention that the park is so empty early in the morning when it rains. Nevertheless, I still met some other runners. So great to see dedicated people.

Bootcamp, people!

In the evening, I went to my first bootcamp training! It was great fun. I really liked the social aspect of the training, and even though I am still not the strongest person out there, I am managing far better than I used to. I was on the winning team in the plank challenge we did! Maybe I should enrol for regular bootcamp trainings? Once or twice a week? What do you guys think?

Distance: 10.1km
Time:       59:30

Saturday – slow 5k

And slow it was, but mostly because I basically walked half of it. I had incredible cramps in my calves. The whole run was run-cramp-walk-repeat. I hydrate a lot, I slept quite well, I went to yoga before running, I try to eat enough protein and I even eaten some chocolate to replenish minerals (I am one of the few weirdos who isn’t crazy on chocolate; I know, I know, it’s strange), but I think I simply overwork myself and my body is not yet used to such training intensity. My guess is that I got a prime example of too much, too soon.

To relax and train differently for a bit, I went for a swim. The open air swimming pool is now available and I love that place. I will be going more often. I love swimming, and even though I am not a fast swimmer, it was so enjoyable! I lost count of the number of laps, but it was a solid 1 hour in the water. Splendid.

Distance: 5km
Time:       35:32

Sunday – “race pace” 5k

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This was a very interesting run. I started out bit too fast, but paid attention to my form and breathing, and I was flying (Lap 1)! It felt pretty good actually, and I didn’t have to push too hard, but somewhere halfway my right calf started to cramp up, so I took a walking break (Lap 2). After I felt better I picked up a bit slower, but with a still nice tempo. The run itself felt really good, I was bummed for the walking break in the middle, but I am not going to push myself too hard a week before the race.

Distance: 5km
Time:       29:04

I can’t believe that it’s almost race day! 

Days 158-164: Week 7 of 10k training and April summary

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April total distance 102.7 km!!!

Yes that deserves three exclamation marks: I ran over 100km in April total. Amazing.
But that’s not the only thing. I tried my first fartlek. I ran over horrible mood and even got a PR on 5k (28:16). I learned to have a healthy relationship with running. I tested the new Adidas shoes. I went wall climbing and I loved it. And I completely smashed my first attempt on the 10k distance, making it in under 1 hour! That sums up to a truly eventful and successful month.

So, how did the last week go?

Monday

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When living in the Netherlands, there’s one day that virtually everyone gets out and parties together, and that’s the King’s birthday on the 27th of April, aka: KINGSDAY! There are only two rules two kingsday: 1. wear orange 2. get out and have a great time. So we did. No one parties like the Netherlands on Kingsday, and when Kingsday happens to be on Monday, the party lasts all weekend long. You can imagine I was very glad that Tuesday was a rest day this week…

Wednesday

The slow 5k didn’t feel too great, even though I ran after yoga. In general, this week’s runs were not that great. I was taking plenty of walking breaks and did not push myself very hard. But I am managing to slow down the “slow” runs to something resembling jogging, and to pull off slower paces. It’s not easy, running slow!

Distance: 5.5km
Time:       37:34

Thursday

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My second ever attempt on 10k was much worse than the first. I walked a lot. I didn’t really have the mental strength to keep pushing, and I didn’t feel good about the run in the slightest. There is a saying among runners that the only workout you regret is the one you haven’t done; if so, this run was close to being second only to that.

Distance: 10.1km
Time:        1:02:21

Saturday

Starting with a yoga in the morning and the run directly afterwards, it was a good start into a busy day. It would be better if I didn’t have to endure the urgent need to use the bathroom the second half of the distance, but I somehow pulled that through. Thank God.
And there are so. many. runners. Saturday morning in the park. It’s like a swarm. Maybe they have a mating spot somewhere in the neighbourhood? Just kidding.

Distance: 5km
Time:       33:23

Sunday

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I am so happy I managed to pull this run in under 1 hour… even if just a couple of seconds. Especially that it rained cats and dogs during this run. I was completely soaked. And much fewer people than on Saturday, obviously, but there were still some hardcore runners I met on the trail. Strangely, the only thing I was worried about is whether my phone would survive it (it did). But the run was much more of a struggle than the one last week. I finished dead tired despite the walking break I took and some spots when I slowed down to get some breath.

Distance: 10km
Time:        59:47

And now, two weeks left to the Nike Women’s 10k Amsterdam!

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Days 130 – 136: Week 3 of 10k training

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The second and the third week looked exactly the same in the training plan, so I hoped that I would be able to see improvements from all the speed work I had been busy with in the last weeks. However, that proved to be more difficult than expected. I went home to Poland for Easter (yay!) and had to alter the plan and reschedule and re-purpose some runs, making it less clear to see my progress, if any. Also, the weather hasn’t been great at all, so my running shorts are still waiting for their turn to shine…

So, here’s how my week looked like!

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