Category Archives: Workouts

Ideal Post Race Workouts

I was focused for several weeks on the Sactown 10 Miler. It is all too easy to fall into a post-race slump after a big race. But that can lead to getting out of shape and off track and having to start all over. The big goal for this year is to PR in my July half-marathon. While the races leading up to are important, their main purpose is to keep me in shape and conditioned throughout the year. But I also don’t want t burn myself out before I toe the line in July.

There is a balance and fine line, both mentally and physically, to make sure you stay in shape and engaged in training. With the right post race plan, you can get a break and still preserve conditioning for the next big race.

Instinct tells you to do nothing the days after a race, but I have learned the hard way that doing nothing actually prolongs recovery and soreness. The best thing you can do for tight muscles is to use them – but be gentle. My favorite activities the day after race are walking, yoga and cycling.

It’s important to not stop running altogether. If you do, you might gain weight, you will definitely lose fitness and you’ll have to work even harder to get back into shape.

The post-race prep should start on race day – walking and stretching immediately after the race will help reduce soreness in the following weeks. In the days following the race, take it easy, but make sure to move. Don’t push yourself to do anything that hurts. Just keeping up the routine of going to the gym or hitting the road for a walk or light jog will make it easier to get back at it. And make sure to keep up the stretching and foam rolling.

Finally – set your sights on your next race. Having a race on the calendar is great motivation. Don’t shoot for a big race right away – maybe a fun 5K or 10K with friends. Have fun with your post race fitness to keep it fresh after months of focused training.

My Friend the Dreadmill

Coming back from a week off of running (allergies knocked me out last week) is hard enough.  Add in weather like this and I am getting really friendly with the dreadmill:

We have been so lucky this winter with such mild weather that it has felt more like Spring or Fall most of the time than winter.  And we are also lucky since winter means rain, not ice and snow. While running in the rain is not impossible, it is just not ideal. So this week I have been hitting the treadmill.

The pros of treadmill running include:

  • Lower impact surface – my knees and hips are happier.
  • Consistent speed – takes the guess work out of pacing
  • Great for speedwork – especially if you do not have access to a Garmin or a track
  • Hill training

The cons:

  • Running form – trying not to catch my hand on my headphone cord or bump into the display means my form is often unnatural.
  • Lack of wind/road resistance – this can be an issue if you train for a race solely on the mill.
  • Boredom – some people love the treadmill, but for the minutes tick by so slowly.

To combat boredom on the treadmill, I like to do intervals.  Even if I am not doing speedwork, I like to change things up by walking at an incline, running at an incline, mixing in some different speed runs.

Luckily today was a speedwork day, so my workout flew by.  I did a 1 mile warm up at 9:40 pace and then did 6 400s at sub-8 minutes pace, alternating between 7.5-8.0 MPH on each.  In between I walked at 4MPH for .10 miles. To cool down, I alternated between walking and jogging at a 9:40 pace until I hit 4 miles.  The consistent pace definitely helps during speedwork. On the track, my pace often drops a little each set, but today I actually did each 400 a little faster. The treadmill takes the mental guessing game out of the equation.

To really make sure I will not be able to walk tomorrow, I tacked on some lower body strength moves.  That is another benefit of doing my speedwork at the gym. Normally, on speedwork days that is all I do since it is tiring enough. But since I was already at the gym, I figured go big or go home. I did walking lunges while holding a 10 pound plate, reverse lunges with 10 pound plate and squats with 40 pounds.  My legs were screaming at the end and that was all I could take. I foam rolled and then we got the heck out of there!

Do you love or hate the treadmill? I love it for what I use it for. I am not sure I would ever be able to do a long run on it, though. 5 miles is about my max on treadmill. But it is convenient, safe and gets the job done.

Parking Garage Hills and Stairs

Hills – dreaded hills.  They are an important part of training (much like speed work), but it is so easy to skip them – especially when you don’t live in an area with hills close by. The benefits of hill training include building strength and speed. I typically run on flat ground and don’t think much about hills.

But during the Superbowl 10K I quickly realized that I should incorporate hills into my routine. Just the slightest bump in the road took it out of me.  The Napa2Sonoma Half has a couple decent climbs and rolling hills, so I want to be prepared.

This morning, after a walk with the dog, Aaron and I headed to the stairs of death for a quick workout. I took advantage of the parking garage the stairs are attached to and ran up the inside of the 6-story garage a couple times. Each trip to the roof was half a mile of hills.

In addition to running up the inside of the garage, I took a few trips up the stairs as well. My heart rate was through the roof at the end of each trip to the top.  It was a nice, sweaty way to end the weekend and my week of workouts. I hit my goal of 3 days of strength training this week and exceeded my goal of 300 minutes of cardio – I did 383 minutes!! Yay, me!

We have an afternoon of hanging with friends ahead of us! I don’t have tomorrow off, but hope you do!


February Shmedbruary

Every chance we get, we have been trying to take advantage of the unseasonably warm winter we are having.  I know we need the rain, but I really can’t complain about days like today.  We have been talking about going for a hike with the dog for a few weeks now. This is the first weekend we didn’t have many plans, so hike weekend, it was!

After researching some good spots for hikes, we settled on Jenkinson Lake. We have camped in the area before and loved it. Being only about 60 miles away it was easy for a quick trip up and back. We woke up to dense fog in Sacramento, but once we headed up the hill a bit, the sun was shinning!

Cash knew we were up for something when we got in the car instead of going for a normal walk. He loves car rides because there is always something fun at the end of the ride.

It was so nice to smell the fresh air, pine trees and mountain air.

Aaron was wearing shorts and a T-shirt, and the sun felt amazing, but we could see the snow-capped Sierras in the distance. So beautiful.

Aaron made delicious sandwiches to munch on at our turnaround point. Turkey, ham, Havarti, lettuce, tomato, onion, Chitpotle mayo. Plus some BBQ chips and an apple. Cheers!

Cash had the best time, which is no surprise. He loves adventures (just like mom and dad), being outside and swimming. I can only imagine how cold that water was, but he didn’t care!

We covered 3.25 miles and then headed back home. Such a fun way to spend half of a Sunday and I hope we do it again. We kept pinching ourselves that it is the middle of February and we were hiking where there has been snow in the past.

Now Cash, Aaron and I are all bathed and relaxing for the rest of our Sunday. Weekends, why are you so short?

Speedwork Wednesday

The past couple weeks I have been meeting up with some of my GOTR friends for Wednesday Speedwork.  I dread it beforehand every time, but it feels so good when we finish.

Today the weather was AMAZING.  Sunny and in the 60s!  So crazy that yesterday it was raining and tomorrow it is going to be almost 70s.  Picnic, anyone?

Today Kellie and I tackled 4 x 800s with 2 minute recovery between each interval and a warm up and cool down. It was fabulous!  We were tempted to do 400s because they are shorter, but both agreed it was nice to be half way done after only 2.  I stuck to about a 7:45-8:00 pace during the 800s and walked for 1 minute and jogged for 1 minute during the recovery.  All in all, we cover 3.56 miles.

Tip: Do you want to do speedwork with friends, but don’t run the same pace as your buddies?  If you all have Garmins, you can each program the same workout and start and finish together, but run the workout at your own pace.  Kellie is faster than me, so did her 800s at 7:30 pace while I gladly followed behind.  We were able to chat during our recovery and cheer each other one.  You shouldn’t be able to chit chat during speedwork, anyways!

I am looking forward to seeing improvement in my pace and hoping these speed session get a little easier each day.  Do you have any favorite speed workouts?  We need to mix it up a little.

Just for fun: