Thursday, April 30, 2015

When Is It Ok To Push Through Your Run?

Yesterday was a tough day in my running world.  GI problems continue to be an issue.  During my run yesterday I was hit with immense nausea and stomach cramps.  No urge to use the bathroom, just overall discomfort.  With 12 miles on my marathon training plan, I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage.  

I have read and researched a lot about GI issues troubling runners.  This is something I tend to go through a least a few times a week.  After my long runs on Sundays I am often plagued by intense nausea and sometimes vomiting. During the Shamrock Shuffle I had a similar experience.  I was able to push through the stomach pains, though I felt exhausted and defeated at the end.  I can usually decrease the nausea by eating carbohydrates afterwards.  For me, something low on the GI scale like a sweet potato helps the best.  Yesterday I was hit hard by nausea that ebbed and flowed throughout my run.  The first two miles it was mostly quiet, sort of an annoying background noise.  I tried my best to ignore it and soon felt better.  I completed my first of 2 x 4 miles at tempo pace.  I turned around and started my second set.  After the first mile of that set I knew I was in trouble.  I started to feel the bile in the back of my throat and sharp pain in my lower abdomen.  I took walking breaks.  It subsided a little, and I was back at it.  I drank some water which also seemed to help a little, as GI issues can often be related to dehydration.

I finished my last tempo miles and felt defeated.  I was exhausted by trying to keep up a tempo pace, averaging about 7:45/mile, and ignore my GI issues.  I walked my final two easy, cool down miles home.  I too often beat myself up for not completing a run.  It’s easy to feel like I will never finish my marathon if I can’t push through 12 stinking miles.  Unfortunately I did not bring my cellphone with me yesterday.  Instead of calling Chris for a ride home and to avoid letting my mind wander about my “failure” and if I could just finish those last 2 miles, I had about 30 minutes to sulk and mentally berate myself.  Not one of my best qualities.

Why am I putting all this out there?  I find that sometimes it’s too easy to get down ourselves for not finishing a “perfect” run or sticking to our training plans.  I am one that all too easily falls into this category.  To me, nothing beats the sense of pride while completing another training run.  Yesterday made me reflect on when it is appropriate to push through different running issues like GI problems and when to back down and call it a day.  It is definitely something I am still learning to do, but yesterday will help me better understand my body’s signals on when enough is enough.

10 miles
2 miles easy, 2 x 4 miles tempo

Today I still felt a little queasy, but more confident about conquering my run.  This cute face didn't hurt.

4 miles

Running is the best when you have a fun running partner.

Do you have GI issues while running?

How do you decide when enough is enough on a run?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

How to Set Running Goals

Runner's World put out a new post on how to set good running goals. It is adapted from Meb's new book Running for Mortals and it is his five step plan to achieve your goals.


1. A Good Goal Has a Personal Meaning
 Your goals are for you.  They are not to meet other people's expectations.  Having internal motivation pushed you towards a desired outcome (source)." When you hit a tough stretch, either physically or mentally, if the goal you’re working toward has deep significance for you, you’ll find a way to persevere. But if someone else thrust the goal upon you, when you hit tough stretches, you’re going to think, 'Wait, why am I doing this?'"

2. A Good Goal is Specific
The article suggests making a specific goals without ambiguity.   "I want to sub-4." "I want to run the whole race without walking." "I am going to run a BQ." Personally, I'm very motivated by the numbers surrounding my runs; the pace, the mileage.  Instead of me saying I want to run faster, I'll make a goal to hit a certain pace during my runs to have a concrete goal to work towards.

3. A Good Goal is Challenging But Realistic
"Your goals should require you to reach outside your comfort zone while remaining within the realm of possibility."  What do you truly believe you can attain in the allotted amount of time? Do self reflection and really think about what is possible for you.
4. A Good Goal Has a Time Element
My race is in X amount of days, so I need to be ready!  Having a "deadline" will help keep you going.  Even something simple like making a mileage or time goal for the week will keep you working hard and moving towards your goals.  For me, knowing that I have a race to complete on a certain day gives me motivation and pushes me to work hard towards my race goals.

5. A Good Goal Keeps You Motivated
Making goals will keep you honest.  I find that having something written down within your sight a few times a day helps remind you what you're working for.  The article also suggest telling others your goals can help make you accountable.  "Friends and family will also support you when you inevitably hit the rough patches.

Here's today's run:

4 miles easy

The easy pace felt good on my legs today after pushing the pace for Sunday's long run.  Afterwards I took Peyton for a 2.5 mile walk and then spent LOTS of time stretching and foam rolling.

What goal or race are you working towards?

Do you enjoy doing easy runs?  How often do you run easy per week?

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