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I Didn’t Do Anything this Weekend, and #30summerdays Photo Challenge (days 2-8)

Except for running and getting coffee, I didn’t leave the house all weekend, and it was the most amazing weekend ever.
Every now and then I need a few days of doing nothing for a while. Sure, it sounds like a waste of time, I could have gone on a trip or to the park or at least do some shopping. But it wasn’t a waste at all.

 
It seems like life responsibilities always take away from the fun things we want to do, although they aren’t one bit less important, like playing with the kids, cooking, baking, taking naps, and getting home pedicures and manicures for me and my little girl.

 
I got a couple of good long runs in, so I was relaxed and happy. I am aware of the fact that I wouldn’t have been the most pleasant person to stay home with, without getting my running done.

 
#30summerdays Photo Challenge: Day 2 through 8

 
I’m really enjoying doing the #30summerdays photo challenge.
I’m not trying to take particularly pretty or interesting pictures. The goal for me doing this challenge is to take more pictures of my life and share them with you. I also love randomly looking through my phone pics a while later and remembering all the simple moments, when they become good memories they don’t seem so simple anymore.

 
Day 1 is here

 
Day 2: Monday, ugh! What’s keeping you going today?
Quite obvious, but coffee gets me going every day. 2 cups before I go work out, and another one in shake form after my workout, that keeps me awake all day.
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Day 3: Who made you smile today?
My little girl, she’s such a source of smiling/laughter in my life.
We were watching my oldest during his swim lesson and she wanted to go in the pool, so she was crying. Eventually I started taking pictures of us to distract her, and she was a happy girl again.
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Day 4: Look up. What do you see?
I love flying and I work for an airline. When I think of the sky, I think of planes. And I get to see them often too, right over my head!
This picture is from a past vacation to St. Marteen in the Caribbean, where the airport is right by the beach and they fly literally right above your head, quite an experience.
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Day 5: #TBT Share a photo from a past summer trip!
Our first and last family trip to Uruguay, where I grew up. I wish I could go more often to visit family and friends, and for my kids to get a stronger sense of the culture I grew up in.
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Day 6: National Doughnut Day! Snap a pic celebrating! Or, what did you have instead?!
We don’t eat a lot of doughnuts in Israel, but croissants and all kinds of sweet baked goods are one of my favorite treats.
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Day 7: Saturday! What are you up to?
Family time and running!
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Day 8: Time to relax before the start of the week. What does relaxing look like to you?
Long overdue pedicure and a funny movie while the kids took a nap, so relaxing!
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Do you enjoy doing challenges? Which kind of challenge is your favorite: fitness, pictures, etc?



 

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Being Confident in Running

It’s easy for me to lose my confidence in running. An uncomfortable run or a slower pace is all it takes for me to doubt how far I’ve come. Doing a really fast speed that made me feel proud a few days ago, becomes meaningless after an achy run.

 
I try to not think about running soon after a difficult run, and eventually when I think about my training with a cooler head, I pretty much know where I stand.
I think I can figure out where I stand training wise, I know what to expect when I go to a race, I know what speed I’ll be able to pull when I do speed work. Taking the bad runs as something that happens, and those really too good runs as something that happen as well, there’s a balance, a happy medium, a pace I can hold for 10K and a pace I can hold for 1K, that’s just the way it works.

 
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I ran 39K/24.2M this weekend, and it was great. 25K/15.5M on Friday, and 14K/8.7M this morning.

 
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I follow a training plan because I enjoy the number’s game, and because my mind works like that, it needs to know what to do, it needs to plan in advance how far I’ll be running and at what pace. Sometimes I want to forget about racing and even about getting faster, I want to run because I like it, without paying attention who passes me on my route and who I pass. Running is fun, healthy, and it makes me happy.

 

Do you follow a running training plan? If yes, is it to run longer/faster/improve in any other way?



 

8th Day of the Week for Running and Coffee Shopping

Happy Thursday!!

 
Thursday is the last day of the work week in Israel so it’s always a good day for me, looking forward to some weekend fun.
Today especially, since we had a holiday Tuesday and Wednesday, and my work gave us an extra day off, so no work for 5 days.

 
I had been meaning to go to a running store to cash a couple of prices I got at races, so I did that today. They have mostly Mizuno running gear, and a few other brands I don’t particularly like, which was no problem at all, I have been loving Mizuno running clothes lately.
I got two singlets, similar to the ones I bought a couple of weeks ago and absolutely loved. Also a sports bra, socks for my hubby, and a GU chomps because I have to try that flavor.

 
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I had some time left so I went and bought a new coffee machine, our new one was pretty much done.

 
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Shopping for coffee related and running related things, doesn’t get much better than that for me.
As simple as this seems, sometimes I don’t have the time for the little things, my family, work, and running take a lot of my time. I am not at all complaining, I love being busy and those things are definitely worth all my time and energy. Sometimes I just wish the week had an extra day for all the random stuff I need or want to do.

 
On Tuesday I did an interval run on the treadmill, my fast pace for 1 minute intervals is 4:00 Min/KM (06:26 Min/Mile). This is faster than I was doing a few months ago, so I’m glad I’m slowly making progress. Although I don’t feel like I can do them faster at this point, I did add a couple more intervals to Tuesday session, instead of 5 fast intervals, I did 7. I thought I might have trouble on the last few, but the run went really well, and I think I could have even done 1 or 2 more.
I do the intervals at the end, total it was a 50 minute run ranging in pace from 06:19 Min/KM (10:10 Min/Mile) to 4:00 Min/KM (06:26 Min/Mile).

 
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Wednesday was a very hot day in Israel, 40C/104F by noon, so I had to go run as early as possible. I checked the weather.com app on my phone the night before, and it seemed like it would be cool until 8 AM or so, so I started my run at 5:30. I guess a lot of people were thinking the same thing, because the boardwalk had way more action than usual at that time.
14K/8.7M at an easy pace, average 05:07 Min/KM (08:14 Min/Mile).

 
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Does it take you forever (like me) to do some things you want/need to do, that are not already part of your routine?

It can sometimes take me weeks/months to find the time to do something like color my hair or go buy clothes.

 

3 Day Taper Experiment: Unnecessary

Friday morning, after running, I went to get my hair straightened. Since I couldn’t get my hair wet for 2-3 days after that, it seemed like a good opportunity to experiment with tapering. Although I didn’t have a race on the schedule, I decided I wouldn’t run until Monday morning (3 days = 72 hours of no running), and then go for a tempo run, not race effort, but challenging enough.

 
The plan:
· No running for 3 days.
· Tapering mentality: good sleep, good nutrition, grid rolling, light physical effort.
· Go for a challenging run Monday morning: 11K/6.8M total, with last 5K/3.1M tempo at average pace 04:24 Min/KM (07:05 Min/Mile).

 
I did everything right:
It would have been nice to rest and indulge for 3 days, but since I don’t take 3 straight days of rest often (or ever), it was worth it to take the opportunity to treat it as a true taper and try some things out.
My nutrition was spot on, I ate healthy and nutritious foods, and roughly counted calories so I wouldn’t overeat or undereat.
I got 8 hours of sleep every night for 3 nights, which you have no idea what a luxury it is for me. I could feel how this affected my mood, my energy levels, and even how I look (no dark circles under my eyes for 3 days!).
I did very little physical activity, took care of my feet by wearing comfortable shoes, and took care of my legs by using the grid roller every night for at least 10 minutes (which is longer than my usual 5).

 
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Pay off time?:
Maybe my expectations were too high about what the taper would yield, I was sure the last 5K tempo of this run would feel comfortably hard at the most. My reasoning was that if the pace I was planning on running is hard effort for me under regular circumstances, then after a good taper it would feel somewhat easier.
In reality, this run felt hard from the beginning. My legs were stiff and not cooperating. I didn’t think too much of it during warm up, and just took it easy and ran at a slightly slower pace than my usual warm up pace. 2K warm up and 3K easy pace later, my legs still felt heavy. The 6th KM was a mix of 200 meters accelerations followed with an easy recovery pace for another 200 meters. And then tempo time started. And I was a mess. I couldn’t get to goal pace for the first 2KM, and although I made up for it during the next 3KM, it felt really hard and I considered stopping and/or lowering my pace every 30 seconds or so until the end of the run.

 
Results:
Average pace for the tempo 5K was, incredible enough 04:23 Min/KM (07:04 Min/Mile). Yes, I managed the time I wanted, but this run was still a failure in my opinion:
· I couldn’t get to goal pace for the whole first 2KM. This is a relatively long distance to not be able to get to a certain pace. I did a 6K before the tempo, and 6K seem like enough of a warm up. I think stiff legs from not running a few days are to blame.
· The whole 5K tempo (both when running under goal pace and over goal pace) felt hard. I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy run, but I wasn’t expecting hardly being able to make it.

 
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Verdict:
3 days of rest is too much for me. I might consider doing this again before a long race (a marathon, maybe a half), but not for anything shorter. I might do 2 days rest, or even just 1 day rest with a day of light running or cross training the day before.

 
I’m glad I got to try this out before an actual race, and there were certainly positives to this taper experiment: figuring out a good nutrition routine, getting 8 hours of sleep, and giving my body some well deserved rest.
Next time I take a few days off I will ease back into physical activity, and not try to come back with a hard run. As for my upcoming 5K race.. maybe I’ll take 1 rest day the day before.

 
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Do you have your taper figured out, or are you still trying out different ways to taper?



 

A Long Run with a 1K Time Trial in Between

I’ve been wondering how fast I can run 1K, so I decided to do a time trial yesterday during my long-ish 15K/9.3M run.

 
A time trial is measuring how fast you can run for a particular distance. Decide what distance you want to run, and run it as fast as you can, keeping in mind that you want to sustain your pace over the full distance.
The main reason to do a time trial is to compare your times, and see how you improve over time. Do a time trial this week, remember the time you ran, keep training, and do another time trial for the same distance in a few weeks.
Sounds kind of like a race, except in my opinion there’s a lot less pressure. You do a time trial when you want, at the time you want. If you are not feeling it today, you can do it tomorrow. If you need another 5 minutes to warm up, take your time, you have it. The results are not official, it’s something you do and measure yourself.

 
Although I didn’t taper or anything of the sort for it, it was a very casual and informal experiment, I didn’t run the day before because it was swim day.

 
My run started earlier than usual, I was going by 5:20, since I had a busy morning and wanted to be back home, showered, and ready to go by 08:00 AM.

 
I ran about 3K at warm-up pace, then made a restroom stop. Unfortunately the restrooms I usually use on my long run route, which are very close to where I park my car and I can use before I start running, are closed this early in the morning. So I had to stop somewhere else, which I don’t particularly like because I don’t like to stop during running, but then at least I had an empty bladder for the time trial, which was good.

 
I ran another half KM or so as warm up after stopping, and then did a couple of accelerations, a new concept to me, where I ran about 200 meters at a fast pace, but not going all out, and then a minute or so of easy jogging. I really liked doing the accelerations, it got my legs moving fast, something that a regular warm up doesn’t do, but didn’t get them tired at all since it was a short distance and I only did a couple, which was enough.

 
And then I ran as fast as I could for 1K, well, I wouldn’t say 100% effort because I knew I had another 10K/6.1M or so to finish my run… although I knew I’d be doing them at an easy pace I had to save some strength for them. But I went about 95% effort, and finished in 03:56 (06:20 Min/Mile pace).

 
I was pleasantly surprised to see the final time, but I know with some speed work I can reduce a few seconds off that.

 
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Have you ever done a time trial? How do you measure your running progress?