{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 13}

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This week I rested most the week but ended this training week with a bam! Ryan had a solid week and ran his first 20 miler-such a huge feat in marathon training.

Monday-8 miles (Ryan)

Wednesday-lifted (Ryan)

Thursday-5 miles (Ryan)

Saturday-5 miles (Ryan)

Sunday-15 miles (Sarah) and 20 miles (Ryan)
We ran the first 15 miles of this run together and each mile felt difficult. Despite sunshine, temps in the 60’s, and busting out one of my favorite running skirts (similar-Target) it was a challenge. We never felt like a mile was easy or flying by. We were both dehydrated. It was my first run in 11 days and if I’m being honest-it sucked! The thing about running is that even when it sucks is still feels good after or later on. You still feel proud and glad you ran even if the actual miles weren’t awesome.

It was Ryan’s first 20 miler and he took a GU every five miles and drank Nuun at the same time. I stocked up on both GU and Nuun this weekend. Both are cheaper on Amazon and you get free shipping when your order is more than $35.00. I have no ideas why both are cheaper on Amazon than on their own websites, but I’m always looking for a deal so I will always look on Amazon first from now on.
To be close to GU and water we broke our run into five mile loops. This made the run mentally smaller and more manageable. Despite trying mental strategies to make the run seem shorter, it was a difficult run for both of us, but neither of us quit. We did stretch when we felt we needed to and didn’t put any time pressure or expectations other than to finish it. I went out saying 15 was my max as I wanted to see how the foot held up and didn’t want to injure myself in another way. Ryan planned to follow the training plan and run 20.

When Ryan got back from his extra five miles I asked him how he felt. He said it sucked. He was glad to have taken my ipod with for the last miles because they were rough. In his words: the whole thing sucked! All my muscles wanted to let go.

This is the hard part with running. A few weeks ago we ran a 17 mile run and felt great. We both felt we could have kept going and perhaps ran a marathon that day. Today we struggled. Some runs are great and others are not. The important thing is to keep going. Every mile makes you stronger.

Tip of the Week: Be proactive in injury prevention. Since I’m recovering from a foot injury I thought it perfect to mention some tips to prevent injury. Even though my injury was not caused by running directly, running made it worse. Some of the most common injuries for runners are runner’s knee, plantar fasciitis, IT Band, pulled muscles, blisters, and shin splints. If you take care of yourself, then you can decrease your chance of these common runner injuries. Here are some tips to follow in being proactive against injury.

1) Warm up with dynamic stretches and movements. Ten minutes of these before your next run increases your strength and flexibility and warms muscles up so they are ready to run.

2) Run with good form. I am a total hypocrite for saying this, but I do believe some of my hip pain is because I’ve never done anything to improve my form other than focusing on holding it together on long runs.

3) Choose a training plan for your current level of fitness. It’s easy to want to run a certain time or mileage, but be honest with yourself, your current level of fitness, past experiences, and past injuries. Choosing the right training plan can keep you running healthy and strong all the way to race day.
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4) Set a realistic race goal and train accordingly. Running every run really fast will not help you on race day. Neither will training on all flat terrain for a hilly course. Know your race course and fitness level, and choose an appropriate goal. If it is your first time running a specific distance I recommend running to finish not to compete. You will automatically have a PR!

5) Stay hydrated and eat healthy. Both will help speed recovery and fuel runs. The better the things you put in your body, the better your body will operate.

6) Save static stretching and yoga for after your warm up or runs. Some studies say static stretching (holding a stretch in place) before a run can actually increase your chance of injury and decrease performance. Save it for after your run when it is most beneficial.

7) Pay attention to trouble spots and past injuries. Since spraining my ankle last year I am doing extra exercises to strengthen my ankles before my upcoming trail races.

8) Know when pain is pain and not soreness. If something really hurts and feels more than sore, then you should consider cross training and/or sitting out a few runs. If the pain goes away then resume your training plan. If it doesn’t, you know you have more than muscles soreness.

Injury prevention is so much easier than injury recovery…trust me! I’m so looking forward to resuming my training plan this week.

Total Miles: 38 miles (Ryan) and 15 miles (Sarah)

Happy Training!
Sneaks & Stilettos

{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 8}

Another week of training is over.
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Tuesday-4 miles (Ryan), I rested the foot

Wednesday-7 miles, Ryan lifted

The weather was glorious. I seriously felt some warmth radiating off the ground and smelled that warm smell that comes with spring. I soaked up as much of this bliss as I could in preparation for the impending rain, sleet, and snow that was coming Thursday and Friday.

Thursday-4 miles at the gym
As hinted at above, the weather conditions were anything but stellar. When the sleet is instantly freezing into ice when it hits the ground it is time to go inside. I’m so glad we did. We had an easy four on the treadmill, and I was able to up the pace a bit since we were running on a flat and even surface. I was surprised how easy the pace felt as I started to increase the speed a mile into my run. To ease boredom and preserve mental energy for future winter runs outside this weekend, I ran my first mile at warmup speed, then at 1 mile I increased the speed every tenth of a mile by .1 miles per hour. At two miles I ran at 8 mph for a mile, then lowered the pace to 7.5 mph, and started my decent downward, lowering the speed .1 mph every tenth of a mile until I got to 7 mph. We finished our four miles in 33 minutes. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this felt. Great to know those outdoor winter miles are paying off.

The best part of going to the gym was seeing a friend who inspired me to run my first marathon. She had a baby six weeks ago and worked out her entire pregnancy. The night before she delivered her beautiful baby girl she was at the gym working out on the elliptical bump and all.  This Thursday she was working out on the elliptical again, this time baby girl was strapped to her in a front carrier. She was rocking out a nice and easy workout while baby girl was instantly lulled to sleep by the soothing motion of the elliptical. Way to go fit mama! Such a wonderful and inspiring person!

Friday-7 miles (Ryan on treadmill)
Ryan had a strong run on the treadmill. His miles have increased by a fair amount, but his body is adapting to the work load well. He felt a bit stiff going into Saturday’s long run, but nothing major.

Saturday-13 miles (Ryan) and 9 miles (Sarah)
Where do I begin with this run.  We knew it was going to be cold and slippery and snowy on our long run today, but we were optimistic because the sun was shining.  Steps into our run we encountered slippery roads and we both almost fell.  As we approached the lake we were met with snow drifts and wind gusts from across the lake.  Our path is below.
We pushed onward still determined to get this run done. We were slip sliding every few blocks, but most the time this induced laughter as we made fun of each other.  Miles 1, 2, 3 ticked by.  Soon we were hitting miles 4 and 5.  The run actually was going pretty well. We found a bike path that was bare in few rare spots or snow-covered in others so we were able to get some traction with our shoes. However, they say all good things must come to an end.
As we headed into mile six and turned directions, the direction of this run took a dramatic shift. We ran the next four miles into head on winds. The wind had also made this part of the bike path very slippery. Some parts were all ice, which was making our hips sore. We were freezing cold. By mile eight my legs, arms, and face felt numb. I likened the experience to what the tin man must have felt without oil. My mind was telling my legs and arms to go, but they just didn’t want to.


When we got back to the house to get a drink, I was done. I was frozen to the bone. Near tears. It just wasn’t fun. Running shouldn’t be that unbearable; it just wasn’t worth the extra few miles I was supposed to run. I knew I could run those miles if I had to, but today I didn’t. I checked the weather forecast and found out why it felt so damn cold. It might say 20, but it felt all of 6. The wind was terrible.

The wind was relentless.

The wind was relentless.

Ryan being in his first marathon training mode, headed back outside to finish four more miles. I don’t know how he did it. He came back talking in explicatives and unkind words about running. I had taken a warm shower and was sitting in a cozy blanket by the fireplace reading an issue of Trail Runner magazine. I think we all know who made the smarter choice here.

Sunday-5 miles (Sarah), Ryan lifted
Ryan had a rest day since he actually followed the training plan this week, unlike me. He felt a bit sore today, but totally earned it with the mileage he put in this week. I’ve heard almost no complaining of muscle soreness, aches, pains, etc. from him which must mean he feels pretty good. I feel great muscle wise, and my foot feels better with each passing day.

Ryan’s Tip of the Week-Don’t let weather by your excuse for missing workouts. Have a gym membership or pay a daily fee when the weather gets too cold or slippery. Having the option available helps you stay committed to your training plan no matter what the weather is like.

Sarah’s Tip of the Week-Listen to your body. With first time marathon training sometimes it is hard to decide whether the aches and pains you feel are really an injury or your body just getting used to higher mileage. My rule of thumb has always been if the pain feels sharp, intense, or worsens with continued activity it is time to rest, ice, compress, elevate, and get it looked at if it lasts more than a few days without improvement. If the pain is more of an ache or muscle soreness, then I try to run through it and make sure to stretch or get it massaged by a certain training partner. I’m no doctor that’s for sure, but this is what has worked for me. Please listen to YOUR body and do what YOU feel is best.

My foot still hurts a bit today, but is feeling much better than it did all week. I sat out a couple of runs this week to give my foot some rest time. I also lucked out with dress up days at school and was able to incorporate running shoes into three days of dress up (blaze orange day, twin day, and favorite occupation-Olympic Runner.) Wearing supportive shoes gave my foot the rest it needed to heal faster. Pushing through the pain might have left me sitting out for weeks at a time. Better to miss a few runs than miss a few weeks of running. Plus, Ryan said he’d be ticked at me if I really hurt myself and couldn’t run the marathon.

Ryan’s Total Miles-35 miles

Sarah’s Total Miles-25 miles

Happy Training!

{Running Injuries}

Since I won’t be running for the next few days due to my sprained ankle in a race this past weekend, it might be the right time to talk about injuries caused by running. I’ve been so lucky to have never suffered from a running injury over the past 16 years of running. Although my injury was caused by a tree root and not overuse or overtraining, most runners will experience an injury of some sort in their running career.

Overuse or training too much too soon can all lead to injuries. The infographic below helps explain the basics, prevention, and treatment should you ever get the dreaded running injury.

Safe Running!