Category Archives: Fitness

Why and How to Run in the Morning, and the Best Swimming Tip

I was up at 3:30 in the morning today. My kids were having a tough night, and by the time they fell back asleep, I was wide awake.
I got up, made myself some coffee, and sat on the computer.

 
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I like to read on my computer while it’s dark and quiet, besides I can never search for enough running/fitness gear online.

 
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After about an hour I was feeling sleepy and thought it would be a good idea to get a couple hours of sleep, since facing a work day after being up at 3:30 didn’t sound like fun. And then I remembered all the reasons while running in the morning is the best, and figured being tired later so I could run would be worth it.

 
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Reasons why running in the morning is awesome:

 
* Endorphins: Running releases endorphins, a chemical that makes us feel happy, and who couldn’t use a free and natural antidepressant?
* Best for losing weight: Jump start your metabolism and burn more calories through the day, need I say more?
* Wake up big time: Running is such an eye opener, you’ll get on with your day bright awake and ready to rumble.
* Get it over with: Some people really enjoy running, for others it’s a chore that serves a purpose, such as losing weight or staying healthy. Either way, knowing it’s behind you and you are free to do other things later in the day is worth waking up earlier.
* Nature and silence: Even if you live in the middle of the cement jungle, the quietness, the birds flying around, the cool morning breeze… it’s a million times better than running later in the day when it’s noisy, there’s a lot more people walking around, and you can smell the car fumes in the air.

 
I am a morning person, so waking up early to run is easy for me. If you struggle with waking up early to go run, here are some tips that might help you manage a run before work/school/other obligations:

 
* Get your gear ready: I leave everything I need on the living room so I have everything handy when I wake up, and so I don’t make a lot of noise looking for my gear and risk waking up my family.
* Mental prep: Even for morning people like me, it’s not always easy to get out of bed and get out of the house, especially when it’s dark and cold (or hot, or wet, or I’m just tired). Thinking about my run and my training the night before, usually gets me motivated enough to go out the next morning. Set your alarms: No matter how motivated you are to run tomorrow morning, chances are when the alarm sounds you’ll try to talk yourself out of actually getting out of bed. Setting a couple of alarms within a minute of each other, and putting them a few steps away so you have to get up to turn them off, could mean the difference between a run and a nap.
* Plan your route: Think in advance where you’ll run, so you can make sure the route is safe and well lighted, and also to avoid running longer than intended and being late.
* Schedule it: Figure out how long you’ll be running, and schedule your times accordingly. Allow yourself plenty of time to shower and get ready for what’s next, especially if you have to be somewhere at a specific time.
* Nutrition/hydration: You might need to try your food/drink intake a few times before you figure out what works best for you. I personally eat and drink before I run, I feel lethargic without some calories and caffeine.

 

 
Since I was up so early, I managed to get an extra long session at the gym.

 
Running:
45 minutes progression run, with intervals thrown in just because:
10 minutes warm up
10 minutes at 05:10 Min/KM (08:20 Min/Mile)
10 minutes at 05:00 Min/KM (08:04 Min/Mile)
6 minutes at 04:47 Min/KM (07:42 Min/Mile)
9 minutes consisting of 3 intervals, each interval was 1 minute at 03:52 Min/KM (06:14 Min/Mile) and 2 minutes easy at 05:20 Min/KM (08:34 Min/Mile).

 
Ab/core work:
About 30 minutes of crunches, planks, push ups and pull ups.

 
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Swimming:
750 meters / 820 yards easy swimming, with last third of the workout being as fast as I could manage, which is really not fast at all.

 
A woman at the gym who used to swim on a competitive level told me the other day that I should try to keep my body a bit higher when I swim, with the back of my head slightly out of the water. She said my swimming technique is good (I took this as a huge compliment), but going to low underwater slows me down.
I really appreciate when people who know what they are talking about give me knowledgeable/useful suggestions like this. I don’t have a swimming or running coach, so sometimes I can be making bad mistakes without realizing it.
I paid attention to this today and tried to stay higher in the water than usual, and felt a big difference on my speed vs effort output, she definitely gave me a great tip.
With that being said, many times people give me unsolicited advice on issues that are personal, or without really knowing what they are talking about, that really annoys me.

 

What is your favorite time to run?

5:30 AM start.

How do you feel about strangers giving you unsolicited advice?

0.01% love/appreciate it (knowledgeable/factual advice), 99.99% hate it.

 

Long Run, TLC, and the Real Reason I Don’t Post Pictures of Food

I know I take bad selfies, but I don’t have anyone to take a picture of me at 06:00 in the morning, especially on the weekend.
I just had to take one to show you my new Mizuno top, I love it. Worked great on my long run today, very airy and fresh, no chafing whatsoever, and the racer back is so cute.

 
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21.3K/13.2M at average pace 05:04 Min/KM (08:09 Min/Mile). Not bad for the morning after a race. I wanted to take it easy, which I did, I am trying to make speed runs not more than 15% of my weekly total running.

 
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I’m good with my average pace for the run, but my pacing wasn’t the best:

 
2KM/1.2M – warm up at average pace 05:45 Min/KM (09:15 Min/Mile)
9KM/5.6M – taking it easy at average pace 05:14 Min/KM (08:25 Min/Mile)
10.3KM/6.4M – loving running, but not keeping the easy pace I intended, at average pace 04:47 Min/KM (07:41 Min/Mile)

 
The pace of the last 10K, that is my “happy” pace. My favorite pace to run, especially when I get there gradually, after a few KMs at an easy pace. My legs are warm and feel strong and I get to that pace so naturally. I feel fast, that is definitely not an easy pace for me, but I feel strong and not winded at the same time.

 
On weekends I usually come home after I run to shower and get ready, during the week I usually shower at the gym. It’s nice to come home and spend a bit of time with the kids before I jump in the shower, and especially not be in the usual rush that is the work week.

 
After getting ready, I hit the fridge big time. By then it had been over an hour since I finished my run, so I was starving. All I had after the run was water with NUUN.

 
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I really don’t know why I used my daughter’s Hello Kitty’s plate

 
Recovery shake with banana, cacao, glutamine (yum), soymilk, flaxseed, and molasses.
The healthiest bread sold in Israel, at least that I have found, and the most delicious hummus, I did scrub that container clean.
A few almonds, my husband likes to soak them overnight, it makes them softer. I prefer them dry but I don’t really mind, I don’t eat them too often.

 
A couple of hours later I had another snack, and this is the reason why you don’t see a lot of food pictures in this blog, I remember to take pictures after I’m done eating.

 
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I ate the whole pineapple, it really wasn’t too big, leftover apple pieces from my kids’ snack, and a Clif bar.

 
I took my knee high compression socks out of circulation for running because it’s officially too hot, but my calves were feeling a bit tight so I decided to use them for recovery. A bit of TLC can’t hurt: freeze spray, foot cream, tight socks, and lying down. Followed by a glass of water with apple cider vinegar, and Grid rolling.

 
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What is your “happy” pace and why?



 

Race Recap – Liga 5K – PR 21:18

I wasn’t wrong yesterday about not knowing how to run a 5K.

 
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My splits were all over the place.

 
KM 1 – 04:08 – Faster than I had planned, but feeling good.

 
KM 2 – 04:18 – What? I didn’t even realize I had slowed down that much.

 
KM 3 – 04:09 – A good split again, although my mind starts to wonder if I can hold this pace for longer. Thinking of a couple of Mizuno tops I saw at the booth and am planning to buy as a reward (or just because I want them) kept me pushing.

 
KM 4 – 04:24 – The “back” portion of a race is always the hardest, my legs are feeling it by now, and my mind is having an argument about ‘why do I need to suffer’ on the one hand, and ‘we are not quitting with a bit over 1 KM to go’. My slowest KM by far, bummer.

 
KM 5 – 04:14 – Telling myself that I’m taking a week off running after this race helps me push a little, besides I don’t want to make a fool of myself slowing down too much in the last KM.

 
Official Results:
Time: 21:18
Overall Place: 59 out of 266
Women’s Place: 2 out of 44
Category (30-39) place: 1 out of 15


 
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I am satisfied with my final time, it is very close to what I was expecting fitness wise.

 
My pacing was bad and I need to work on that, but I’m not surprised because I never really train at the 5K pace of this race, except for intervals. Intervals are a great way to improve speed, but they are too short to teach us how to actually keep a pace for longer periods. I should have done some tempo runs with a few KMs at 5K pace in advance.

 
I wasn’t expecting to run this race because we were supposed to be overseas, and when we canceled the trip and I realized I could run it, I was tired physically and mentally from previous races that I decided to take this race easy, and therefore didn’t train or taper for it.
My final time shows I didn’t run it easy after all, but the fact that I didn’t train for it still shows.

 
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This being my first 5K, it was a good experience for future races. A few things I did differently than for longer races, which actually worked out great:

 
Warm up: I tried doing strides at the end of a 3K/2M warm up, and I think this really helped me run fast from the start of the race. Usually it takes me a while to get my legs to move fast enough to reach goal race pace, not today.

 
Taking a GU in advance: I’ve been taking a gel before races, just a few minutes before start time. This seemed to make sense for longer races, where I’d need the extra energy to last longer into the race. I knew the 5K would take less than 23 minutes, so I figured I could eat the GU half an hour before the race, and see if it made a difference. I really think it did, more time to digest it before the race, and no side pain whatsoever, which I did get in past races.

 
Mind games: Every race makes me mentally stronger. I still have a long way to go, somehow on the 2nd half of the race I start to consider slowing down, even DNFing, it becomes harder for me to push through. Although my body is getting tired by that point, I can feel it’s more mental than anything. I hate to think that I’m weak, but then I’m still racing, and I will get stronger.

 
Peeing: This is not a new thing, but I went to the porta-potties four times before the race, about 20 minutes apart, the last time being 3 minutes before start time (the perks of small races). This was perfect to avoid that horrible feeling of having to pee while running. I had 2 big glasses of water and 2 cups of coffee before I left home, so going to the bathroom regularly helped take it all out.

 

 
About the Mizuno tops I was thinking of during the 3rd KM, I saw these cute tanks that I wanted to buy, the fabric is so light, the cut is awesome, they are sleeveless which I love, just perfect.
I couldn’t buy them before the race because there was a problem with their credit card machine, but I bought 2 after the race, same model, 2 different colors.

 
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I had to rush home right after the race because my son was celebrating his birthday at his kindergarten today (actual birthday was 2 weeks ago, and although the party is only for the class children without the parents, I still wanted to take him myself (usually my husband takes him on Fridays and I do my long run).

 
Overall this was a nice, relaxed, fun, small race. Great way to start the weekend.

 
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That promise my mind made my body about not running again for a week, so not needed. I am not sore at all, and although I had postponed my Friday’s long run to next Wednesday, I will be doing it tomorrow. Works much better for me to do it on a weekend day than on a week day, and I feel perfectly fine. Definitely makes me wonder if I could have run harder.

 
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I Don’t Know How To Run 5K

Ab work this morning at the gym, followed by a 2250 meters (2460 yards) swim. Taking it kind of easy for a 5K race tomorrow morning. I’ve never raced one, and I can’t remember the last time I ran just 5K, but it’s been at least 2 years. Usually my training runs are at least 8K.

 
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I’m really excited about tomorrow, although at the same time if I have to use just one word to describe how I feel about this race, it would be confused. I will think of this race as a training tempo run, where I do the last 5K at a faster pace, and try to copy that tomorrow. After a warm up run, 5K tempo will be the race.
The possibility of going out too fast when it’s a shorter race seem even more probable than usual, at the same time going too conservatively and then having the race be over too fast, without never making the hardest possible effort, would suck a little.
In the end, it will be a good experience, if only learning wise.

 
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This will be a small race and there will be a few people I know, so I am looking forward to hanging out and talking to friends. I wish I could run a great time, but I’m not feeling it too much. I haven’t tapered, except for taking it slightly easier after my 5 day running streak late last week, and my nutrition and sleep have been lacking due to same late nights.

 
I need to work on my playlist, I will need only a few songs, and then I’m going to bed to watch some TV. I may lose your respect, but I’ve been watching Devious Maids and it’s so entertaining. I’m so tired when I go to bed that I can only watch light stuff, and this show is doing it for me. The maids and the families they work for have some interesting stuff going on.

 

What is your favorite low quality entertainment?

For me it’s reality TV.

Any 5K race tips?



 

Running Everyday is Not For Me, or I Need a Vacation, or Both

5 straight days of running made me realize that my body can really take a hit. I admire all of you running every day, doing streaks, or even doing double-run days.

 
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I’m not built for that, or maybe I need to train into it gradually, although I’m satisfied with where I am running wise.

 
Last week was an exception, I had a couple of unscheduled rest days, and then my running sessions got all together.

 
Wednesday: Tempo – 11K/6.8M with last 4K/2.5M at 04:20 Min/KM (06:58 Min/Mile).

 
Thursday: Easy – 9KM/5.6M at average pace 05:09 Min/KM (08:17 Min/Mile).

 
Friday: Long – 25K/15.5M with last 8KM/5M at 04:40 Min/KM (07:31 Min/Mile).

 
Saturday: Easy – 9.5K/5.9M, at average pace 05:13 Min/KM (08:24 Min/Mile). I missed my morning run outside because my little boy was sick, so I managed to go to the gym in the afternoon and ran on the treadmill. Still an easy run pace wise, but it was crowded and hot, and it took a lot more effort out of me, so it didn’t feel easy.

 
Sunday: Tempo – 12K/7.5M with last 5K/3.1M at 04:26 Min/KM (07:07 Min/Mile).

 
Sunday’s tempo run was hard for me. I should have postponed it based on the fact that it was my 5th day in a row running, but my OCD self didn’t want to change my schedule. I have a 5K race this Friday so pushing a hard run to further in the week would mess my (kind of) taper.

 
I really don’t like to complain about my running or having a hard run, or being sore. Running is such a positive part of my life and I enjoy it so much, that I want to convey only the good things. I feel so grateful that I am still young and strong, and that I can wake up in the morning and go for a run, worry free, at least in the large scheme of things.

 
Keeping all the good in mind, I’ve been feeling like a I really need a vacation though, quality time with my family, doing fun things that we don’t get to do every day, and resting big time. As in lots of food, lots of sleep, and little physical activity. Heaven, right?
Our last vacation was last August, so it’s been some time, and it was a few days in Paris. We have amazing memories from that trip, but it certainly wasn’t restful. Now I dream about Thailand, or a Club Med, or a cruise, somewhere I can relax and rest.

 
In the meantime, a little beauty retail therapy did the trick, some new MAC makeup that I am totally loving, first time I buy their foundation and I am mad at myself I’ve waited this long! And I finally went to get my hair done, it was way too long and way too blond. Although I get a similar color than my natural color, which is dark blond / light brown, the strong Israeli sun and chlorine from the pool make my hair a million shades lighter in a matter of weeks.

 
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When was your last vacation and where did you go? Any tough runs lately?