July 31, 2015

Jeff Galloway's Tips for Running in the Heat

As Galloway bloggers, we have been provided tips by Jeff Galloway to share with our readers.  There is no compensation for this post.

Our weather has been very hot this summer here in North Carolina and perhaps the most difficult summer since we moved here almost 6 years ago.  Dealing with the heat and humidity is one thing for daily living, but totally another when you get out and try to exercise.  I have certain things I do to make my summer runs easier like starting really early in the morning, wearing very light breathable clothing and always having water.  My best summer runs happen when I have a sherpa along who will carry my water. Yesterday Tom offered to join me on his bike and I always respond with an enthusiastic yes, because it keeps me from having to carry my handheld water bottle and dog spray.

Today's tips from Jeff are all about summer running.  They could not have come at a better time since this is another week of terribly hot and humid weather. I love the last tip about running in the deep end of the pool.  Last week I tried pool walking and even that can give you a pretty good workout.

Dealing With the Heat: Training through the summer can not only be grueling, but down right dangerous.  Here are some tips to train safely and as comfortable as possible in the hot summer months.
* Slow down by 30 sec/mile (20 sec/km) for every 5F temperature increase above 55-60F ( every 2.5C above 14C)
* When the temperature is over 70F (21C) you may take a 5 minute “cold shower break” every 25-30 minutes to keep cool.
* Try to complete your run before the sun rises above the horizon.
* More frequent walk breaks during hot weather can lower body temperature increase.  If you used to run 3 minutes between walk breaks, run only 90 seconds (walk 30 seconds) at 70F (21C) and at 80F (26 C) drop to 60 sec run/30 sec walk or 30/30
* When you start to heat up more than normal, take a longer walk in a mall or indoor AC building
* Pick shady courses on hot days.
* Don’t wear a hat!  Pour water over your head
* Have an indoor alternative—treadmill, etc
* Run in the deep end of the pool, using a flotation belt

My favorite thing to do post run is jump in here for a nice cool down. I've even gotten in wearing my running outfit minus the shoes!

Do you do anything special dealing with the heat and humidity?

July 30, 2015

Open water swimming and avoiding sharks

This summer has been tough with my calf injury keeping me from running my normal three days of week.  Not wanting to lose endurance during this time period, cross training was must.  So my coach added swimming workouts and not just 1000 yards of free swim.  Each workout for swimming has involved speed, arms or leg work and they have been tough.  But the hardest workout to date happened last Friday when we took to the great big ocean, actually an inlet area, for an open water swim.

After completing said swim, there were a bunch of things that I thought of that could be helpful if you are going to be tackling an open water swim.  These are just my thoughts based on my one and only open water swim (other than as a kid at summer camp swimming in Sebago Lake in Maine).

1.  Avoid the sharks  Certain times of day are feeding times for the shark family.  Dawn and dusk swimming is not recommended unless you want to be the appetizer or main course for the sharks. Leaving all shiny jewelry and accessories at home is also a good idea.  Sharks like sparkle!

2.  Be sure to have a buddy My coach had arranged this swim and there were two of us doing our first ocean swim.  Sami paired us up and she was an extra swimmer keeping us all within a safe area.  It was great having an extra pair of eyes to keep the group together.

3.  Wear a bright colored swim cap  Going along with the safety theme, it is important to be able to be seen by other swimmers and also boaters.  If you are wearing a dark colored cap, chances are they will not see you until it is too late.  I chose this beauty and yes, it would be hard to miss sighting me in the water.

4. Swim close to shore  If possible, find a place to swim where you have access to either docks or the beach.  Having a place to recover if you get too tired is imperative when you first start swimming in open water,  It will be an easier transition from pool to lake or ocean swimming if you have a place nearby for a rest.  We stopped several times during our swim to wait for others and those docks kept us from having to tread water and use up precious energy.

5.  Wear fins or a flotation device  Just because you are a strong and capable swimmer does not mean you cannot wear something to give you a little boost in the water.  Sami knew I was absolutely petrified of a potential shark problem and she gave me her wet suit shorts to wear.  This was not an option.  She just threw them down from her porch and said, "Pam, put these on.".  And I did and it made the swim super easy.

6. Have a recovery beverage handy  While it does not seem like you are sweating, swimming is a hard aerobic exercise and replenishing your fuel supply is important after a workout.  Having something handy when you get out of the water is nice, especially if you have taken in ocean or lake water.  The taste is not the best!

 7.  Have fun  Once I got in the water and started to relax I greatly enjoyed our morning swim.  When the group goes again, I will be there!

July 28, 2015

Rock 'n Roll Virginia Beach ....40 days

Disclosure:  As Rock 'n Bloggers, we have been provided with a free entry into the Rock 'n Roll Virginia Beach races.  There is no other compensation received and we are not required to write about our experiences.  All opinions stated here are our own.

Rock 'n Roll Virginia Beach was one of our first local races together after we started our running adventure.  Both of us have participated in the race twice, including last year when I ran the half marathon relay and Christine ran the half solo.  This year, there is no relay so we will both be running the half together.  If you have not done this race add it to your list, or better yet, sign up now so you can enjoy a great beach weekend and race.  Always done on Labor Day weekend, this is the weekend that the locals "take back the beach" and the party atmosphere makes it a perfect time for a race. Use our discount code at the bottom of this post if you want to save $15 off the registration price. Also, there is still space to sign up for the VIP experience and you can read about that here.

With our friend Megan after Rock 'n Roll Virginia Beach 2014

A couple things to note about the race weekend.  While it is a September race, don't let that fool you into thinking that race morning might be cool.  This race is notoriously hot, so here are some tips to help you be prepared and enjoy your race.

This is the 15th anniversary of the race in Virginia Beach and the medals are outstanding.  While we are not doing the Remix Challenge, those that are will get some seriously nice bling.

I do love the half marathon medal and look forward to earning that on September 6th! The race shirts this year are also very pretty and since blue is my favorite color I can't wait to get my hands on this one.  Best of all, Rock 'n Roll has women's and men's cut shirts so they are a great fit.

Last of all Sheryl Crow is the headliner act for the concert Sunday night at the oceanfront.  While we have missed these concerts the last few years, hopefully we can stay up late enough to enjoy this one.

July 24, 2015

Why I did not sign up for Princess 2016

For the past 5 years, the Princess Half Marathon has been a race that we have looked forward to and run with friends, family, and all of the other women who show up for this race weekend in Orlando. It was our first half marathon and while it was also to be our last, you all know what happened....we became running converts!

The Princess race weekend is special to us for so many reasons, but first and foremost, spending time with Christine and my sister are at the top of the list.  We always have lots of giggles and laughs, but also enjoy the competition that the race brings us, whether it's running a new distance, shooting for a new PR, or pacing a family member.

But something changed between 2014 and now.  After qualifying for the Boston Marathon, it became a goal of mine to run all the major marathons before I turn 65.  This year, Boston and NYC are my races and in February 2016, I will be toeing the line at the Tokyo Marathon.  I am so excited to have this on my race calendar and it will be even better since Tom will be accompanying me for the race.

 There are lots of things to plan in regards to this trip, but suffice it to say that it is very exciting to know that I will get my third major marathon accomplished next year.

Princess race weekend is not forgotten and I know we (my sister, Christine and I) will be back to run it in the future.

July 9, 2015

Decidedly absent, but still swimming, biking and now running!

This summer has been a very busy one for both Christine and me.  It started with a wedding in June and now the summer days are flying by with loads of outdoor activities and fun things to do.  While we both are still training for races and cross training to keep fit, our focus has been on personal relationships and fun in real life.  We enjoy the camaraderie of our online running buddies, but let's face it, we spend far more time with friends and relatives during our day to day lives.

While I have been nursing an injured calf, Christine has been busy settling into married life.  My leg has given me a real setback with running, but it has not broken my spirit to exercise and have fun outdoors doing other activities.  Swimming has become a strong contender as my new favorite activity and my weekly workouts from coach Sami have been going very well.  Today I had company since Ryan had the identical workout.  And since she had a watch that had a working timer, she helped me tremendously since mine died after two lengths of the pool!  One of the things I like best about the workouts are the increase in yardage and the test near the end of each workout to see if my speed has improved.  As a highly motivated athlete, I'm alway anxious to see progress and after a longer workout than normal, I did achieve a 5 second improvement in my 100 yard time.  There is still no flip turn in my repertoire, but I hope to learn that at some point in the future. I know that will give me a dramatic improvement in my speed!  Here is the workout I did today in case anyone wants a great swim workout:

Swimming pool workout
*  100 yard warm up
*  4 X 25 yards easy,  Focus on high elbows above the water

Main set:
*  4 X 50 yds on 1:10 interval
*  8 X 25 yds steady and build so faster within each 25, rest as needed between laps

* 3 X 5 minute swim at any pace, rest interval after each as needed
* 4 X 50 on 1:10 interval with rest as needed

* Swim 100 yards for time

* cool down swim for 100-200 yards

I loved this workout and ended up swimming 1600 total yards.  If you are looking for some great tips on swimming, check out this article here. I am now seriously considering a small sprint tri next spring, but only if I replace my 37 pound Schwinn bike.  It has five speeds and is very hard to ride quickly. It has been a good source of cross training and when I can keep my workouts at 4:45 per mile pace, I am quite pleased.  Note that most triathletes are going between 18-20 mph as a normal speed, so I clearly have some work to do on a new bike.  But this one gives me a good challenge and as Tom says, it is almost a point of pride that I ride a 25 plus year old bike!

Yesterday was a busy day with a 30 minute run followed by a day on a friend's boat.  The run went great with the aide of some compression sleeves and an easy pace to keep it comfortable.  My calf did beautifully and tomorrow will be my next test to see if it is definitely back to normal.  In between the cross training I have been playing golf and enjoying the company of many friends in my new neighborhood. Oh and I did a little bit of sewing and made this quilt for the head coach of my running group and his wife.  They started and have run the Quintiles race here in Wilmington since 2010 and this seemed like the perfect gift for their little girl!

Lulu loves my quilts!

What is your favorite summertime activity?  Do you cross train more in the summer?

July 1, 2015

2015 Running goals update

After reading lots of midyear posts by other bloggers and runners, I thought it would be fun to look back on my six months of running and racing in 2015!  The year started off with a month of training with no races.  January was a very quiet month, keeping a base and starting my Boston Marathon training.

My first race of the year was the Princess Half Marathon and it was my fifth consecutive year of running this race.  As my first half in 2011, it is a very special race for me and this year, Christine and my sister Alison were both there to enjoy the race weekend.  My goal was to run under two hours and to get a new PR would be even better.  Yes, it did happen and I was thrilled to find out that I placed in my age group, another goal for the race.  Christine PR'd her 10k as part of the Glass Slipper Challenge and my sister smoked her age group for a win by over 13 minutes in the half marathon!

After training really hard during the month of March and completing several long runs in the 22-23 mile range, it was time to taper for my little race in April.  After running the B.A.A. 5k with Christine and Adam on Saturday, Alison and I rode the bus on Monday morning from Boston to Hopkinton to run the Boston Marathon,  This was a dream that was finally realized and while it wasn't the race I planned, it was an experience I will always remember and my sister was by my side every step of the way.

Crossing the finish line with Alison

The month of May started with a Mother's Day trip to California to run the Tinkerbell Challenge.  My goal for these races was to earn an age group prize in both races and hopefully run a PR in the 10k race.  My prior 10k PR was over two years old and since I run this distance infrequently, I thought this was the time to test myself.  With perfect weather and good corral placement, my PR goal was met by nearly a minute and a couple age group prizes for each race were earned.  It helped alot to have Christine run the half with me after we both raced the 10k fairly hard on Saturday with the half on Sunday.

At the end of May, I ran my last race for the month and that was the Wilma Dash 5k with many of the girls in my running group.  Our group had the most participants and we were rewarded with a party at the local brewery!  And many of us earned a podium finish and an age group medal.  It was crazy hot that night so there were no PR's, but the girls had a ton of fun and it will be repeated next year!

Yes, we were dressed in a sea of pink!

June was a tough month with a nagging calf injury and not much running. The best run in June was the "Runaway Bride" run in Virginia Beach the day of Christine and Adam's wedding.  This was made extra special with 5 girls who ran with the bride and me leading the way on a bike since I wasn't able to run!

Overall, this has been a great year and hopefully the second half will continue to be productive and fun.  Has 2015 been a good running year for you?