{IMM Training-Weeks 2, 3 and 4}

Apparently I write a blog about running and am training for a marathon.  This would be an actual marathon on foot comprised of 26.2 miles of sweat, GU and muscle fatigue.  If you look at my training (you’ll see below) you wouldn’t know it.  In my week 1 post I was all about balance in my life.  Let’s just say the balance was broken, off kilter, kittywampus (I’ve never written that word before) or derailed.

I’m not going to be mad at myself or drone on and on because ain’t nobody got time for that.  I’m a new mom and just returned from 15 nights on the road and out of town out of the last 17 days.  If you follow me on Instagram you saw what I was up to.  I did the best I could with the given situation and the results are less than pretty.  Sometimes that’s life. You can’t go back and change the past so I’m moving forward.

I encourage you to cut yourself the same slack from time to time.  That thing you keep beating yourself up about as if Ronda Rousey was fighting you.  You know exactly what I mean.  Just give yourself permission to move on.  Look to the future.  Learn from your situation.  Your going to lose against her anyway.  That woman can kick some major ass.

Week 2

Monday-Off

Tuesday-Off

Wednesday-3 mile run/4 mile walk

Thursday-60 min. Yoga Sculpt a.m./ 3 mile run p.m.

Friday-off

Saturday-Dressed in running clothes and entered hotel workout room for treadmill run, but my boss had other plans.  Played bicycle with him as ab work when out of the car instead.


Sunday-5 miles on Detroit Riverwalk.  Most parts of this run were pretty, a few run down, however I found beauty in both.  I always felt safe.  Check it out if ever in Detroit.  

Week 2 Miles-11

Week #3-

Monday-Walked 4 miles on sidewalk/path along Niagara River leading to Niagara Falls.


 Tuesday-Walked around Lake George and Hiked in Adirondack Mountains

Wednesday-Hilly and hot walk on Province Lands bike trail (7.5 miles) in Cape Cod. 

Thursday-Dressed for a run on the Cape Cod Rail Trail.  Forgot it was the husband’s birthday for a few moments.  Let this be our little secret.  Remembered, and got us coffee and doughnuts and a cookie dough cupcake for the birthday boy while letting him sleep in.  No chance to run.


Friday-3.25 miles (Finally!  Was close to hurting someone if I didn’t get to run.)


Saturday-Sightseeing in Boston.  Walked undetermined number of miles. 

Sunday-See Saturday.  Moved long run to Monday.

In real current time on Monday, August 3rd at 8:15 p.m. as I’m typing this post on my phone and my son is sleeping in my arms:

It just sounded like a loud car crash and the power went out.  Blog post officially delayed.  Power is out for an hour.  Thank         goodness for the White Noise App I have on my phone that is mostly charged.  My son needs the white noise to stay asleep. Seriously download this if you have a little one that uses white noise.  I can’t tell you how many times we’ve used this app.

Week 3 Miles-3.25 (Yes, you read that correctly.)

Week #4-

Monday-7 mile run in Boston (Started in Boston Common, to Boston Public Gardens, to Boston Marathon finish line, to Charles River Esplanade loop, finished with fresh cannoli for the husband and family.  I had one bite only since I’m dairy free for the baby.  Boo!) 

Tuesday-4 mile hike (Hiked Gorge Trail at Watkins Glen State Park) 

Wednesday-Sandy and hilly dune hike at Indiana Dunes State Park 

Thursday-1 mile run/walk, Home sweet home for one night

Friday-2.25 mile run to enjoy the moon

Saturday-off…doing important things like a college friend get together at a lake cabin.  Also first night away from little man.  Tears were shed. 

Sunday-Planned long run, but left running shoes outside friend’s cabin overnight by accident.  During night a torrential rain storm occurs. Only running shoes along are soaked.  I seriously can’t make this up.

Week 4 Miles-10

I said there would be ups and downs in week 1.  You probably just didn’t think I meant coming so soon.  This is the post with the running downs, but the life highs.  We made so many great memories on our road trip I wouldn’t changed the missed miles for anything.  Don’t worry.  This is still a blog about running.  I’m still planning to run a marathon.  Regular training has resumed as of today.  Rhonda Rousey was just after my running the past few weeks.  I’m trying to stay away from her this week.  I suggest you do to!  

Stay tuned for Week #5’s update in a week and some other training news.

Sarah

{IMM Training-Week #1}

After taking a hiatus from blogging during basically my entire pregnancy, I finally feel like blogging again. It was weird, but almost immediately after seeing the word positive on that pregnancy test I stopped feeling like blogging. Then the tiredness hit and blogging was basically done. I’m back to training and consistently running, so it seems like a good time to get back to it. Notice I didn’t say I’m not tired, but that is a given.

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Going for a walk with the Ergo carrier. We love it!

Since having the little man 12 weeks ago I have slowly started running again after doing a lot of walking first. I read a lot about pelvic floor health and how important it is during pregnancy and after if you want to return to running healthy, injury free and not peeing your pants. I’d like to say I did all the pelvic floor exercises they recommended, but then I’d be lying. Why I hate them so I’ll never know.

Hiking at 38 weeks pregnant.

Hiking at 38 weeks pregnant.

What I did follow though was listening to my body when I was pregnant. I didn’t push the miles. Some days I ran and some days I didn’t. After week 33 there wasn’t anymore running, just walking, hiking and some ellipticalling (yes, it should be a word.) After birth I again listened to my body and started slow. My first post-partum run at 4.5 weeks was less than a mile and was only because the baby wanted to eat NOW and we were not home from a walk yet. But, it felt good so a few days later I went again this time making it 2.25 miles. I never pushed too hard. If my pelvis or lower abs were sore (which they were in the beginning) then I gave myself rest days in between run days.

As for this marathon training cycle I have tried to safe guard it as much as possible. I gave myself 11 weeks to ease back in and run without following a training plan. I started walking at 8 days post-partum when it was nice enough to get outside. Remember it is Wisconsin where I live. Even though the kid was born in April it snowed (flurried) several days after he was born.


After walking for four weeks, trying to always be conscience to engage my core throughout every walk, I started adding in one run a week, then two, then three and so on. Despite having abs that were weaker than I could have ever imagined, I avoided ab work because of having mild diastasis recti (ab seperation) and ab work can make it worse. Instead I did some pelvic floor work and non-crunch ab work. This 12 week no crunch ab workout plan includes planks which some sources I read said to avoid, but I did them anyway. I did not do the plan everyday, but tried to a few days a week.


For the four weeks before I started officially training I consistently ran 3-4 days a week adding mileage slowly and continuing to walk 10-20 miles a week. I’ve done some HIIT workouts, SOME pelvic floor work, and have been going to yoga once a week for the past month. Yoga has really helped with my abs and pelvic floor muscles as I feel how often they are engaged. I’ve been alternating between a Yoga Sculpt class with weights and a more typical yoga class.


With all of this in mind I feel I am ready to start training again. It is so important to listen to your own body and do what is best for you. I’ve read blogs about people racing at 8 weeks and heard from women who weren’t interested in racing until their baby was 9 months or older. Listen to yourself.  My first “race” was at 11 weeks and was not a big distance.  Check out my Firecracker 4 mile race report for more details.

My training plan will be completely different then in the past. Often past training plans had my mileage around 40-50 miles per week by mid-cycle. One training cycle I peaked at running 70 miles in a week. While I’m still proud of that number, my life is different now. My number one goal is to get to the start line of the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon healthy and injury free and feeling excited about the race, not burnt out or resentful.

To keep balance in my life the plan includes only four days of running a week, one day of cross training a week, and one 20 mile run in the training cycle.  In the past I’ve always ran 5-6 days a week and often completed three 20 mile runs during my training. Not only do I not think my body is ready for that, but I don’t want to either.

With getting back into a routine of running I’ve really noticed how hard it is to push yourself when you are tired. Sometimes the hardest muscle to work isn’t even a muscle-it’s your brain. I don’t want to be attempting tempo runs, track workouts with specific splits, or crazy amounts of long runs right now. I don’t have the mental energy to hit those paces or the desire. I don’t want that stress in my life right now. Just leaving for a run can be stressful enough.


Some days when I look at my little man it is almost impossible for me to leave for a run. I just want to hold him or stare at him. I want to enjoy being a new mommy and not feel like running is taking anything away from these once in a lifetime moments. I also know I do need time away to recharge and be a good mom. When he sleeps is usually when I run. I don’t feel so guilty then or like I might miss something. Only a few weeks in and already mom guilt!

This plan is longer than some I’ve followed to give myself extra time to ease into training. You can see the marathon training plan I’m following made by Hal Higdon. It would be a great plan for a first time marathoner or someone, who like me, wants to ease into training and keep a balance between life and running. I cut off the first 6 weeks to fit my timeline and did those next first few weeks as unofficial training. The training plan certainly won’t get you a PR or make you feel like the marathon itself was easy, but it should prepare you for the race. Of course, I’m not an expert so take my thoughts as only suggestions based on my experience.

I’m hoping to post each week like I did for the Wisconsin Marathon. I like to document my training to refer back to and to hold myself accountable.  Lastly, losing the baby weight is important to me.  Posting each week will help me stay on track with all these goals.

So much of how I feel is based on how I feel about myself.  This might be stupid, but it is my reality.  So many people said breastfeeding is the way to lose weight after baby, however I have not really found that to be true.  I’ve never lost weight at a slower pace than in the past 10 weeks which is frustrating, but ok since losing weight is not the reason I chose this option for my baby.

Previously I have been lucky so far in life and usually could easily lose 1-2 pounds a week if needed by adjusting my calories based on intake and exercise.  I’ve tried increasing calories to make sure I’m eating enough with breastfeeding, taking the middle ground, and cutting calories and none of it seems to make a difference.  My diet has been pretty healthy considering I’ve had to cut out dairy for the little guy.  No pizza, ice cream or sometimes I swear anything and you’d think I’d lose the pounds a little faster.  I’m losing the weight, but VERY SLOWLY.  I still have 10 pounds to go after all my effort, but I remain determined.  Of course meeting my baby’s needs always comes first.

After a long-winded introduction here is what week 1 of my training looked like.

Week #1 Training-

Monday-5 mile run (last weeks long run got moved)

Tuesday-off, 5 mile walk

Wednesday-3 mile run, 3 mile walk, yoga sculpt class


Caught the poor kid mid-sneeze!

Thursday-3 mile run

Friday-off

Saturday-6 mile run, 2.5 mile walk


Sunday-3 mile run with jogger (Our 1st!)
Running with a jogging stroller is no joke!  This is going to take some getting used to, but will give me freedom to run when the husband is gone. I only plan to use the jogger for shorter runs as my abs are still weak, and I want to make sure I run with proper form for longer runs until I get stronger.

Most sources say to wait until your infant is 6 months or older to use the jogging stroller on a run.  After talking with P’s pediatrician and seeing he’s been holding his head up for a month and a half, I feel it is safe.  He is also in his infant seat and we bought a quality jogging stroller (Bob Revolution Flex-Amazon has best price by like $100).  The kid’s head doesn’t even move. Do what you feel is best for your child!

Week #1 Training Miles-20 miles

Stay tuned for I’m sure many ups and downs as I continue to adjust to being a new mother runner!

Sarah

{Friday Fab 5-Pro Compression Stars and Stripes, Whitewater Rafting, Orange Is the New Black, Chaos…}

My first week of summer vacation is coming to a close. The week was filled with coaching responsibilities, visiting lots of babies and their mommas (6!) and catching up with yard work (it is never-ending).

{#1-Pro Compression Stars and Stripes}

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Believe it or not the 4th of July will be here in no time. This year I have an actual, real race to run (Foot Traffic Flat Marathon outside of Portland, Oregon) on the day, so I’m giving you a sneak peek of my race day outfit. Proper recovery will be essential as I will be running another marathon nine days later.

{#2-Whitewater Rafting}
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I added this to my 30 things in my 30th year list. The husband and I will be going whitewater rafting on the Snake River while in Jackson on our field trip (that actually came to my mind first) vacation west.

{#3-Orange Is the New Black}
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My affinity for dark shows continues. I did JUST learn that this show is based on a true story. This is both disturbing and interesting. Spoiler Alert: Thank God Pensatucky got some new teeth. I cannot handle her teeth, especially at the start of season 2. Brush and floss at least twice a day and stay away from meth folks.

{#4-Celebrate YOUR Runs}
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Summer running and humidity can easily get you down. Celebrate your progress. Hydrate right. Stay strong. One of my favorite cross country sayings is “Autumn holds no secrets about how summer was spent.” Those hot, steamy miles you put in this summer WILL benefit this fall.

{#5-Sneakers Before Stilettos}
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Saw this recently and found it fitting. The true hierarchy of shoes. Although I love both types, my favorite are days when I lace up my sneakers and then slip on stilettos for a fun night later on.

Happy Weekend? Any fourth of July races planned for anyone?

I run because…I need balance in my life.

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Some people will be wondering what is next after my 50k. After following (although somewhat loosely at times) a training plan since the last week in December, I’m sort of ready to run what I want when I want. I’ve got some recovery action that will take place this next week, followed by some inbetween marathon training that will let me be flexable while also keeping me in shape for my next races-the Foot Traffic Flat Marathon on July 4th in Portland, Oregon and the Missoula Marathon on July 13th in Montana. The plan will allow plenty of time to enjoy summer, the husband and whatever else I feel like doing.

Finding balance between being a runner and a person is so important for me.  I love my time alone on the roads and trails, but I also need the social fun of being with others.  Too much of one or the other leaves me unbalanced and feeling cranky.

All day I’m surrounded by people-from the adults I work with to the 130 students I see in a day to the athletes I coach. Running offers me time to hear my own thoughts in my head, to process what I feel, and to rejuvenate myself for the next day.
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On the flip side too much time alone on the road or the trails makes me sad and puts feelings of discontent in my heart. Being around my students, friends, family and the husband help to restore the fun in my life in a way running doesn’t always fulfill. After too much time alone I crave being around others.
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I find I am happiest and most content with running when I am happiest and most content outside of running. When my life is full (but not too full) running provides me with the greatest joy. When life is challenging and difficult running provides me with an outlet, but often it is not my best or favorite time to run.

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I like this image, but tend to think that life is more good than bad. The yin-yang would need to be a little uneven to represent how I view this balance.

Running encourages balance in life.  Running allows me to sort through all my responsiblities and still make time for myself.  Running helps me see that work is work and sometimes there is more to life than just your job.  Running also helps me to see how much I love my job and gets my creative juices flowing while my feet hit the pavement.  While out on runs I’m reminded of how great the people are in my life and all they do to support me.  This is especially important when people in my life are frustrating me.  Running simply gives me time to think about all I’m juggling in life.

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Balance in all parts of life is always important. I don’t believe for a second that I have this figured out, nor do most people (I think, I hope). Running miles helps me find more balance than if I were not a runner. This is just one more benefit and reason why I love this sport.

How do you find balance between running and the rest of your life?  Tips?  Suggestions?

S & S

{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 15}

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As I sit starting this post it is pouring rain outside and thundering and lightening. My hopes of running a long run on Saturday this week are pretty much gone. Instead I’ve been blissfully stalking reading race reports about the Wisconsin Marathon and searching for other races to add to the spring training schedule. With so many long, long runs for my 50k training coming up, I feel the need to break up the monotony of running in my boring city with only six miles of trails.

Speaking of my 50k I recognize I haven’t really mentioned how I’m training for it exactly. I’m basically following the same training plan as Ryan is for the Wisconsin Marathon with longer distances on some days and hillier and/or trail routes on other days. My actual 50k training plan is below. I’m currently on week 9.
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I’m not looking to break any times or records, rather I’m hoping only not to die or end up hurting so much I never want to do it again. I want to enjoy the trails and running and training in nature more. I want to accomplish a new distance I never have before. I want to get a taste of ultra running.

Back to the focus of this post…Wisconsin Marathon Training.

Monday-5 miles (Sarah)
3 miles with the track kiddos and two miles on my own.

Tuesday-5 miles (Ryan)

Wednesday-7 mile tempo run (Sarah) and 7.5 miles (Ryan)
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I had a dinner date with friends so we did not run together. I left school right after I could and got my miles in and Ryan ran his after baseball practice. I had a phenomenal run. It was a run that makes your heart feel full and bursting with happiness and contentment. I needed that-it had been too long. My legs just wanted to go fast. My lungs still struggled to keep up with some junk in them yet, but they are improving. I managed what I think is my fastest 10k time during this run. Hmmm…now I might need to set a PR goal in this.

Thursday-6 miles
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4 miles with the track kids plus 2 miles on hilly trails.

Saturday-5 miles (Sarah)

Sunday-22 miles (both of us)
We are so bored with the running scene in our community, so we decided to take a road trip to La Crosse. La Crosse is so runner friendly with lots of runners, beautiful trails and scenery, and lots of places to celebrate a long run. Below is our route for our 22 miler. We basically went out 5.5 miles then came back. Then we went out 5.5 miles in a different direction and came back. If you ever get the chance to visit all locations below are great for running.  We took a GU every 4-5 miles to stay fueled and drank water in the middle of the run.
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Running into MN and back. The WI-MN state line is in the middle of the Mississippi River.

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After running in a light rain from miles 11-19.75, we felt lucky it only poured on us for just over two miles. Even though we were drenched we were happy to have felt as good as we did.
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After all of our hard work it was time to relax a bit. I chose a delicious bloody mary from a local favorite of mine, Fayze’s.

Tip of the Week: When long runs get mundane and old running routes lose their allure it is time to change up your running route. There are so many running friendly trails, state parks, towns, and bike paths that there isn’t really a good excuse not to try new routes. We are usually willing to drive an hour to these places if needed for specific runs. It gives you new scenery, a chance to try new local fare, and a renewed mental appreciation for runs. More on this idea later!

Total Miles for Week: 45 miles (Sarah) and 34.5 (Ryan)

{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 6}

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This week was a down week in our training plan. It was nice to have some lower mile runs this week as we both were pretty busy outside the running world. As you will see below, we only ran two of our runs together this week as our schedules didn’t really allow for us to log any other miles together.

Monday-3 miles (Ryan)

Tuesday-3 miles both of us

Wednesday-5 miles (Sarah)

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5 miles fueled by Picky Bars. You know it has been a cold winter when the temperature above feels normal and not cold.

Friday-6 miles (Ryan on treadmill)

Saturday-8.5 mile trail run (Sarah)
I’ll warn you in advance that I took a gazillion pictures on this run. I knew I had no pictures from earlier this week, the run was amazingly beautiful, and Ryan HATES when we stop for 30 seconds to take a picture and start running again. It makes him instantly grouchy, so I try my best to avoid the start and stops when running with him.

My decision to drive 35+ minutes to get my run in was based on having other errands to run, and the fact that I am bored to death of running the same freakin’ routes in the city I live. Seriously, bored out of my mind. So I grabbed a Bearded Brothers for some pre-run fuel, my shopping list for post-run, and jumped in the car to run somewhere different. I secretly hoped my favorite trail would be runable. And, yes, runable is a word!
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This run was also my favorite run of the winter so far.  I soaked up the vitamin D and was high on endorphins for the entire run.  I also was pleasantly surprised to find my favorite trail to run on in the summer was perfectly groomed by this winter’s snowshoers and skiers.  I was beyond pumped to find the trail in excellent condition.  I welcomed the new terrain and scenery with smiles and a happy heart.  The 8.5 miles below passed by faster than most miles I can remember.  I love runs where you get so taken away by the scenery, your music, and/or, the weather that the miles fly by.  Saturday was just one of those runs that makes you fall repeatedly in love with running.  Just you, nature, the crunch of your feet on snow, and the sunshine.  Perfect!

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My favorite tree in winter (left), sunshine on snow, and my shadow.

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When I got to the part of the trail that goes under the highway, I couldn’t figure out at first why I had to nearly duck in the tunnel. Upon exiting the other side I realized there was some two feet of frozen material making the tunnel seem shorter. Proof is in the photos. It was neat.

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As much as I enjoy training with my husband, running alone is still time very much cherished by me. I’d be lying if I said that I don’t miss my alone miles at times. I don’t seem to forget about miles, my troubles, or my to do list when running with the husband versus running alone. The mental fix isn’t the same. Some days though I know that without him training with me, I’d be tempted to skip a run here or there. This run was the break I needed to feel good about training and the many miles we have ahead of us in the coming weeks.
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Post-trail run my jacket and hair were partially frozen. After all that sun and endorphins though I just didn’t care.

Sunday-Yoga Class and 5 mile trail run (both of us)

We ended up staying with friends in the city where I love to run trails is, and we all got up and went to a delicious breakfast in the a.m.  I had one of the best veggie omelets EVER.  Then it was onto yoga which was the perfect way to stretch out our tight runner muscles, reflect on the past week, and relax the mind.  After yoga we hit up a nearby coffee joint, Moka, that we hadn’t been inside (I had never been to).  Their decor was modern and fun, the coffee delicious, and the company…well, amazing.

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Then it was time for some guy time and girl time. The guys headed to some hunting, boating, RV show and the girls caught up on some qualify TV, Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Finally, it was time for us to get in some more miles, and I suggested the gorgeous trail I ran yesterday. Since my Garmin’s battery had died, I guesstimated the miles to be around 5 based on the day before’s run. The husband enjoyed the change in scenery on our run, too.

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Ryan’s Tip of the Week-Stretching is important to feeling good when running. Even though it can be easy to skip (Sarah and I do this all the time), the end result is a happier and healthier runner. Yoga is a great way for runners to stretch and strengthen their muscles and yes, even for guys.

Sarah’s Tip of the Week-Vary your runs even when training with other people. Some people prefer to be on their own for most of their runs. Other runners thrive on the company of others. No matter what your preferred training method is be sure to add in variety by running alone and with others. The balance you get from doing both is rewarding and rejuvenating. Seek out other runners who you work with, running clubs, and fitness groups to meet other active individuals.

Total Miles-
Ryan-17 miles
Sarah-21.5 miles

{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 5/Fueling for Your Training}

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Monday-3 miles on the treadmill
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It was too cold for outside running today. The weather channel’s choice of background is slightly deceptive. True-the sun may have been shining, but at temperatures this cold it is quite unnoticed. Regardless of the temperatures staying hydrated is always important. One of my favorite ways to get myself to drink more water is to add fruit to water to add some flavor. My favorite-simple lemons in water. Ryan takes his water straight up.

Tuesday-6 miles on the treadmill

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This was a rough run for me. I actually wavered between throwing my iPhone against the nearby wall and bursting into tears. I kept it together (barely) but had to walk .75 miles to regain my composure. Treadmill runs do little for my mental health during the run-that comes later. Ryan on the other hand, rocked his miles out like the devoted-training-for-his-first-marathon guy he is.

Wednesday-6 miles outside (!) and Ryan lifted
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This run was a cold one with chilly winds blowing and gusting, but it was a chance to get outdoors. It was an ok run, but not one that made you love running. It made you more love running when you were done.

Thursday-Danced it up in my cowboy boots for several hours
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Friday-Ryan lifted after work and I skied it up on a school field trip
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Saturday-12 mile long run outside
Saturday’s long run was the warmest day we had this week.  The temperature was 18 degrees with no windchill. That is right no windchill.  As a result, there was no chance of us running inside today.  The windchill was slightly misleading as the wind certainly had a chill, but running in the fresh air on open road was so refreshing.

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That is bare road folks…the first run of the winter that had more than a few open blocks.

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Half way through our run we were feeling great. We swung by the house for a drink and were back on the road. I thought about taking a GU, but didn’t really feel hungry and I usually prefer not to take GU’s on runs of 13 miles or less. Ryan was sticking with the same plan. When I first started marathon training, I needed more calories to finish my runs and learned the hard way what calories worked for me. I don’t believe in set rules for all. We each have different bodies and will, therefore, require different foods and drinks for fuel. I am not a dietician, nutritionist, or certified anything when it comes to fueling needs of runners. I simply have ran and found what worked through my own experiences. Below are some of my personal findings with eating on the run or preparing to run.

During my first marathon training cycle, I started getting stomach cramps that would last hours after long runs. Sometimes they started during runs after taking in some form of fuel. I felt trapped; I needed to eat or I would be starving, low on energy, and unable to finish my long runs, but I was feeling sick from what I was eating.

Learning what foods you can eat and can’t eat on long runs requires some experimenting. There is no way to know for sure until you try things out. I remember it being a frustrating time. You are hungry, need fuel to accomplish quality runs, but know you are going to feel sick later. Ugh! You can try not fueling, but you will bonk and runs will feel way worse than they need to. Try no to get frustrated if this is happening to you. We all learn by doing.

After far too many stomachaches post-long runs, I started to do some research. I bought the book, Performance Nutrition for Runners by Matt Fitzgerald, and learned so much about fueling my body for running. If you’ve had issues with fueling I strongly recommend you purchase this book. He breaks fueling for running down into easy to follow ideas that you can take home to your kitchen and use on the run.
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I learned that so called sports bars and drinks that had lots of sugar were giving me my stomach cramps and really were not designed for runners. I swapped out sugary Gatorade for G2 and felt some improvement.  I later switched G2 for Ultima Replenisher which has no sugars, artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners that were easier on my stomach. I also ditched the Snickers Marathon bars and Power Bars for GU’s and simple granola bars that were easier for my stomach to digest. Some of the experimenting was simply getting used to digesting foods while on the run. I can now eat more real foods than ever before because my body has learned to fuel my muscles and supply blood to my stomach at the same time (in moderation). When it comes to fueling the body for running, eating real food for meals and snacks leading up to runs is almost always the most filling, easiest digested, and the best for you. Since this post is already getting long, I’ve made a separate post for those of you who have asked me questions about fueling for long-runs-Fueling for the Long Run

As for Saturday’s run and fueling, our run continued to go well however around mile nine the damp, cold air started to chill the muscles and joints. Around mile ten we both got hungry. The next couple miles were a little challenging being hungry and having cold set in. The last mile home we talked only of which Bearded Brothers flavor we would eat and the Nuun flavor we would drink when we got home. Definitely should have at least brought a couple GU’s along just in case. Other than the hunger and cold, we both felt great on our longest run of our training plan thus far.
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12 miles is Ryan’s longest training run ever. He has ran four half marathons, but never ran training runs longer than 10 or 11 miles. We are unconcerned by pace right now as winter always causes slower times and greater perceived effort.

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Bearded Brothers is a new favorite bar of ours. Bearded Brothers bars are 100% natural with organic ingredients, vegan, gluten free, soy free AND taste delicious. Plus, they come in compostable packaging.

I am not always a huge bar person, but sometimes they are perfect for a pre-run snack or post-run snack. I love that Bearded Brothers offers a healthy and natural snack. I usually prefer to eat a meal 1.5 hours before a longer run. I can eat a smaller meal or snack minutes before leaving for a run. This training cycle we are both trying to eat healthier and not use our miles run and hard burned. In the beginning of my marathon training I often rewarded myself with treats and candy after long runs. After running more miles and marathons, I felt the need to do that less and less. I’m trying to continue on the healthy eating path as it really does make me feel better on a regular basis and I think I run better, too.

Ryan agrees with the feeling better when we eat better, and we are both looking to get in better shape. After our long run Saturday and Bearded Brothers snack we roasted up some chicken and veggies for dinner. I’d eaten most of my veggies when I thought to take this picture. We did enjoy some frozen yogurt later in the evening as we were hungry again.

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Balancing the hunger you can experience with marathon training and eating healthy can be a challenge. Making sure to fuel properly in advance of a long run and during a long run can prevent post-run pig out sessions. I also follow the rule that I only eat when I’m hungry. I’ve never been a snack just to snack person. I truly eat when I’m hungry and don’t when I’m not. Sometimes this gets me in trouble like on Wednesday when I didn’t feel hungry at lunch. I was then starving on my run on Wednesday.

Ryan’s Tip of the Week-As runs start to get longer, break the miles up into smaller sections to give yourself a better mental approach to the distance. This week I looked at the 12 miles, my longest training run yet, as a six mile loop and then an out and back six miles (3 out, 3 back). This approach mentally broke up the run making the distance seem much less mentally challenging.

Sarah’s Tip of the Week-Make sure to listen to your body and provide it appropriate hydration and fuel as your runs get longer. Rather than get frustrated if you bonk or have a rough time fueling, think of it as part of the training process. You are not just training your mind and legs to go the distance, but your entire body to travel many miles. Check out my fueling for the long run post tomorrow for more details-How to Fuel for the Long Run.

Total Miles-27 miles