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Posts Tagged ‘tempo runs’

Recently, Amazon.com got the best of me and I ordered a few new running books (because who ever buys just one thing when online shopping? Not this girl…).

I’ve been wanting to read RUN: The Mind Body Method of Running by Feel (by Matt Fitzgerald) for a long time – a lot of my running/blogging friends have found it to be pretty helpful towards their running and mindset.

I’m only 80 or so pages in, but am already digging what seem to be the overarching theme(s):

  • Running and training is extremely individualized (i.e., 100 miles/week works for some people, 50 works for others, etc.)
  • Runners can benefit from relying more on their intuition when deciding how far to run and how fast

It seems like a no brainer, but I for one am definitely someone who can get caught up in a training plan and set mileage or speedwork goals for the day or week. Sometimes I think it’s easier for me to ignore what my legs are trying to tell me and push until I’ve met whatever goal I have for the day.

Not that I think we shouldn’t push ourselves during workouts, but what I think Fitzgerald is trying to say is that sometimes our bodies intuitively know how fast or far they can go on a given day. We just need to hone in on that and listen to them more, and understand that deviating from a plan is ok.

Aside from the mumbo jumbo that may or may not be going around about “listening to our bodies,” I think he has a great point. When I set out for a run without any sort of pace in mind, I’m often surprised that my legs seem to get a little speedier as I go along and it doesn’t seem as hard as when I’m consciously trying to run at the same pace.

Has anyone else ever experienced this?

I’m definitely intrigued by this theory, so I decided to try it (somewhat) on this morning’s scheduled tempo run. Instead of following my plan exactly for four tempo miles, I’d run at whatever pace felt comfortably hard this morning.

Interesting… Usually I focus on 3-4 miles at a sub-8:00 min/mile pace, but on this run my legs were feeling a little beat up and there were a lot of hills in my route. I forced myself to not look at the Garmin so much, which was really hard! But I’m pleased with the run overall. I felt pretty strong during most of it, rather than wanting to die after my last tempo mile.

Not sure I’ll do this for every tempo run, but it was a good experiment!

Breakfast – Kashi Heart to Heart, strawberries, blueberries, almond milk

I’ll report back when I finish the rest of the book!

I’m excited to delve into the other one as well – Nancy Clark is a sports nutrition superstar and definitely someone I look up to (as in, I would like her career someday). I want to read this one before classes start in September to get me all excited for lots of nutrition-related studying.

Question: What are your thoughts on running by “intuition” rather than following a set plan? Do you/would you do it? Favorite running book you’ve read recently?

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I never thought I would be so happy to see 70 degrees on the thermometer at 5:45 a.m., but it almost made me cry tears of joy this morning.

My legs didn’t feel quite as happy about it, but I made it through a 7.25 mile tempo run that was just a bit slower than I had wanted.

But let’s talk about last week – no groundbreaking workouts, just a whole ‘lotta sweaty miles.

  • Monday: rest, 50 minutes easy vinyasa yoga
  • Tuesday: 7.1 miles; 2×1 mile repeats (7:39, 7:43)
  • Wednesday: 7.75 miles easy
  • Thursday: 7.1 miles easy
  • Friday: 5 miles easy, 15 minutes elliptical, lifting
  • Saturday: 12.5 hot, sweaty miles
  • Sunday: 6.25 miles easy

Total: 45.7 miles. Meh, I’m happy it’s done and overwith. Onward and upward!

Corey tagged me in a 7 links game that’s going around the blog world, and I’m kind of a sucker for stuff like this. So here goes.

THE GOAL

To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.

 THE RULES

  1. Blogger is nominated to take part
  2. Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog – 1 link for each category
  3. Blogger nominates up to 5 more bloggers to take part
  4. These bloggers publish their 7 links and nominate another 5 more bloggers
  5. And so it goes on!
  6. They’ll be sharing the best posts from participating bloggers on our blog and everyday on Facebook and Twitter at #My7Links

Most Beautiful

This is kind of a weird category, no? I’d have to say my most beautiful post was also the one that made me the most sad to write.

 In June, my great-grandma (called Nonna) passed away, and it was devastating.

She was everything to my family – chef, matriarch, authority figure, teacher, mentor, and most importantly, the source of so many laughs and so much love. I miss her every day.

 Most Popular

Almost every day some visitors land on one of these three posts:

And it makes my heart happy, because the reason I wrote them is to help other people learn about the risks, symptoms and causes of serious blood clots through sharing my experience.

Pulmonary embolisms kill one in three people that get them. And since I was one of the lucky ones to survive, I’ve made it a mission to help anyone and everyone realize that both deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism can indeed happen to anyone. Here’s a recent interview I did with FoxNews.com talking about my experience (I’m super famous…)

 Most Controversial

I’m not really very controversial on the bloggy, it turns out. I guess whenever I talk about nutrition-related things people have their own opinions, but I’ve never really felt that anything I’ve said has cause controversy, per say.

 Most Helpful

I like to think the posts I write about nutrition are helpful! I love sharing my thoughts and learnings with ya’ll, and think these posts in particular have gotten great feedback:

 Surprise Success

In February I wrote a post detailing out the foods I ate in one day.

I didn’t think it was going to be very exciting, but then the Fage peeps got ahold it (and my multiple mentions of massive Fage consumption), and posted it on their Facebook page that had about 100,000 fans.

And zoom went my readership for that day! Thanks, Fage. Can I have some free yogurt now?

Not Enough Attention

Even after a year of blogging, I’m still surprised you all actually read this thing 🙂 Any attention you pay to Meals for Miles at all, I love and thank you for it!

Most Proud

I didn’t even have to think about this one – my NYC Marathon recap from last year!

I had deferred from the marathon in 2008 and 2009 because of injury, and at times never thought I’d actually get to run the damn thing. But 2010 was my year, and it was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had.

Ryan Hall and I, just hangin’ out…

The best cheering squad ever!

I loved every second in every borough, and can’t wait to do it again this year!

This little exercise was actually fun – I liked thinking through what I’ve done and written about recently. It’s almost like looking back through a diary, but not all of the dirty details (some things are better left unsaid on the interwebz and therefore most of the free world, ya hear?).

Question: Do you go back and read your blog, journal or diary often? If you don’t have one, how do you keep your memories?

Also, I’m not tagging anyone here because I think a lot of ya’ll have done this already, but feel free to play along if you haven’t!

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This week is flying by!

On Wednesday I ran about 8 miles with AliLindsayMegan and Susan – I heart running with these ladies! It was a bit speedier than my usual easy run, so I wasn’t sure if it would effect how this morning’s tempo run would go.

I guess I should think more positively, because it went well! It was gorgeous – 65, no humidity – and I felt great.

The goal was 2 miles warm up, 3 miles at about 7:55 pace and 2 miles cool down.

I felt good enough to push it past the third tempo mile and maintain around my goal marathon pace for the last part of the run – hooray! Now if only every summer morning were like this one…

Favorite breakfast – Ezekiel sprouted grain cinnamon raisin toast, raspberries, blueberries and peanut butter. NOM.

You may be sick of pictures of my breakfasts, but I still haven’t found the motivation to cook any new and exciting recipes – partly due to the fact that it’s been pretty hot out and I’m avoiding my oven like the plague, and partly because I’ve just been so darn busy.

But I have been reading up on my nutrition news, and one recent study is causing me to have a sad.

The study looked at whether limiting access to fast food restaurants and increasing access to supermarkets in low-income neighborhoods improved fruit and vegetable consumption and overall diet.

The answer has to be yes, right?

Not so much.

The study found greater supermarket availability was not related to diet quality and fruit and vegetable intake (sad), but fast food consumption was related to availability and proximity to fast food restaurants in low-income study participants (not surprising).

I guess it would be too easy to build more supermarkets in low income areas, expect people to completely change their habits and buy tons of fresh produce. I think the problem with this tactic is the old, “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink,” saying.

You can’t just plop a supermarket in a new area and expect people to understand what to buy that is good for their health, how to prepare and incorporate these foods into their diets and how to do it cost effectively.

I’m sure these supermarkets also sold tons of processed, cheap foods, which probably seem easier to buy and eat than fresh produce.

Clearly, education is also needed to help people actually change their behavior and their diets. I’m always thinking about what I want to do when I’m finally a dietitian (if the powers that be love me at all, it will be within a year or so!), and one thing I would love to do is supermarket education. Or basically, shopping with people and helping them pick out their foods and making sure they know what to do with them.

I mean, my one of my favorite things to do is go to Whole Foods.

It’s like my Disneyland. And helping other people like it as much as I do (or even half as much)? Awesome.

Just how will I do this? Well, I’ve got a year to figure it out…

Question: How close do you live to a grocery store? Do you think it effects your diet? Do you like grocery shopping?

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Good morning, friends!

Wednesday marked my return to post-vacation life and a very busy day at work. Even though I’ve been feeling pretty exhausted all week (time difference? hmmm), I wanted to start the day with a strong run. The plan was a 2 mile warm-up, 4 tempo miles (two at goal half marathon pace and two at goal marathon pace) and a 1.5 mile cooldown.

Oooomph.

Basically, I wanted to lay down in Central Park and take a nap after mile 4 and literally stopped to catch my breath for a few minutes. I never, ever do that! It was kind of a bummer, and I definitely had to dig deep to get going again and gut out a run that shouldn’t have been so hard.

It was a pretty humid morning, and I was absolutely drenched and feeling dehydrated by the time I got back to my apartment. I began to think that perhaps all of the dry Cali weather spoiled me the past couple of days, or  worse – I was getting a little burned out.

Luckily, this morning I ran an easy 7.25 miler and felt 100% better. Whew!

I think I’m also experiencing somewhat of a cooking burnout, and am still much more into big, easy salads. Wednesday’s included greens, asparagus, broccoli, radishes, cucumber, red bell pepper, avocado, hard boiled egg and hummus

Since I’m not taking classes this summer, I’ve been trying to keep up on my nutrition news as much as possible. This article caught my attention recently, and talks about a study that found Americans are eating around 500 calories more each day than they ate in the 1970s. Yikes!

The study attributes this increase to snacking, rather than portion size. Which makes me wonder – are people snacking too much? Or are they just snacking on the wrong things?

Probably a combination of both, but I also think mindless eating plays a huge role in extra calorie consumption. How often do you grab a handful of M&Ms or chips on the way out the door, leftover pastry from a meeting at work, or bag of cookies on the couch while watching your favorite show?

Sometimes we don’t even think about these seemingly insignificant snacks that can really add up in calories.

Keeping a food diary is a good way to start thinking about the foods you put into your body each day, and can help pinpoint where and when any mindless eating happens. Taking a few extra minutes to plan out your daily snackage is also a great idea!

I wrote a post a while ago about my thoughts on snacking, but here are some of my favorite snack options that are nutrient packed and tasty.

  • Apple or celery and carrots with peanut butter
  • String cheese and a handful of grapes
  • Graham crackers with almond milk
  • Greek yogurt with a small dollop of peanut butter, tablespoon of walnuts or berries

Fats and fiber help the most to keep you satisfied until your next meal, so I try to make sure my snacks include them as much as possible. And also, they must always be delicious. 🙂

Question: Have you ever had to stop during a run? How did you get back on track? Favorite snack?

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I think all of us New Yorkers that have been wishing for sunny, warm weather are rejoicing this week!

I am definitely one of these people, but I could have done without the humidity during my (failed) 7.25 mile tempo run on Tuesday.

GUH. The air was thick and my legs felt like they weighed 1,000 lbs each. This was one of the few times I’ve actually felt like stopping mid-run and calling it a day. But I chalked it up to being an off day, and definitely think I need some time to get used to this sudden summery weather.

Some easy miles with Megan and Maria on Wednesday morning were  just what I needed to recover and feel a bit better, followed by another easy 7 miles this morning.

I almost can’t believe it’s already Memorial weekend, but am super excited for a weekend getaway with some lady friends.

Since I’m anal and type A with a side of crazy control freak, traveling tends to stress me out. Getting used to a different schedule, in-flight anxiety (I’m not the best of flyers), fitting my runs in and not having my go-to foods on-hand can be a little overwhelming! But traveling to a new place, seeing friends and getting a break from everyday life is definitely worth a little Kelly-induced anxiety in my book.

What helps ease my travel-related stress is to get super organized and make sure I’m prepared. So even though I’m not leaving until Friday, I’ve been packing my bag since Sunday with everything I think I’ll need (and made a detailed list, obviously…).

I also like to make sure I have plenty of snacks on-hand in case there is no grocery store near my hotel or I want a cheaper (and healthier!) alternative to room service. So I attempted to make my own granola bars for easy snacks and breakfasts. I used a recipe from Megan’s blog, which was so easy to tweak and just add whatever I wanted.

The goods involved peanuts, oats, sunflower seeds, raisins, dried cherries, nut butters and walnuts, to name a few.

After combining wet and dry ingredients (details in the recipe below!), all you have to do is pack them into a pan and bake for about 30 minutes.

And once lightly browned, you’ve got some delicious granola bars

Delicious Chewy Granola Bars (source)

Ingredients:

  • 1 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2  cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup peanuts
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter/almond butter mixture
  • 5 tbsp melted Earth balance
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 2 tbsp light corn syrup

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ with parchment paper, letting it hang over the sides a bit. Lightly coat pan and parchment paper with cooking spray. Stir together all the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix together the Earth balance, agave and corn syrup. Combine the dry ingredients, wet ingredients, and nut butter until evenly crumbly. Pour into pan and pack down. Use a piece of parchment or saran wrap to prevent it from sticking to your hands. Bake for about 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.

These turned out really crumbly, and while they don’t quite resemble “bars” they are like crack, they’re so good. I think reducing the corn syrup a tad and increasing the amount of oats I used may reduce crumbly-ness for next time.

Question: Does traveling stress you out? Any travel tips or strategies?

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I have been loving my runs this week – the spring weather has been perfect and the mornings are getting lighter. Even the birds are chirping happily in Central Park.

Does anyone else love the sound of birds chirping in the morning? It totally puts me in a spring/summer mindset!

Tuesday I ran an easy 7.5 miles and this morning (Wednesday) was a tough 7.25 mile tempo run, much improved from last week’s tempo. When I went to upload my Garmin stats, it froze and erased everything! Luckily I remembered most of the splits:

  • Mile 1: 8:55
  • Mile 2: 7:55
  • Mile 3: 7:45
  • Mile 4: 7:36
  • Mile 5: 7:49
  • Mile 6: 8:40
  • Mile 7: 8:35
  • Mile 0.25: 8:35
Total: 7.25 miles in about 58:20. I was pretty happy with this run – it was comfortably hard (especially the hilly parts of CP!) but doable, and it gave me a bit more confidence going into my first post-injury race next weekend.

An increase in mileage has also increased my appetite, and since I’m still very much into Mexican flavors I made a big batch of black bean, corn and avocado salad for dinners this week.

I added mango to the recipe and used a whole wheat tortilla to create a mini wrap with some of the salad.

This morning’s run was all about speed and getting it done fast, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about patience. I’ve always thought I wasn’t a very patient person. I get annoyed with long lines, slow service, people that are late. But something Corey said recently has kind of made me wonder if I’m wrong. She said she admired my patience during recovery from the Achilles injury, and how I didn’t rush (that much) to get back to running too soon.

At first I was like, “Hmmm, she’s wrong. I am THE MOST IMPATIENT PERSON IN THE WORLD.”

But then I looked back at my training log and changed my mind. I think I learned through a couple tough injuries that patience is important, and even if it is completely forced (i.e., don’t you dare run today/this week, Kelly!), it’s way better than prolonging injuries.

I started looking at the bigger picture – I want to run well and pain-free for years and years! – rather than the immediate future – I want to run TOMORROW and I don’t care how much it hurts!

Even though running injuries suck no matter what, I think we let them suck more if we only look at the present (OMG I can’t run this week, this is awful!). Looking at the bigger picture really helped me see beyond the injury and focus on the things I could do to get back to running, rather than the things I couldn’t and the fact that I wasn’t running.

And like so many other things, this little lesson in patience has carried over to my non-running life as well. Putting up with “injuries” in life (job stress, illness, broken heart, tough semester) is inevitable, and they can get us down. Especially if we just focus on the present level of discontent we’re feeling. But a little patience can change your mindset and get you on the right path to “recovery” – getting a better job or working towards a different career, feeling better after an illness, healing a broken heart and finishing the semester all in one piece.

Looking at the bigger picture – what’s going to happen beyond the “injury” – and what we want to continue doing, seeing and/or feeling is what’s important, after all. And you know what they say: “Good things come to those who wait.” Right?

So even though I still may be that girl yelling at people to move in on the subway during rush hour, I think running has helped make me a more patient person in the grand scheme of things.

Question: Do you consider yourself a patient person? What has helped you become more/less patient? TELL ME NOW! (hehe).

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Tempo Tuesday

Hope everyone is having a good week! Mine has been stellar – I’ve had some fun things planned that have kept me busy and helped lift the funk from last week.

On Tuesday, I started the day with my first post-Achilles injury tempo run.

GUH. This was a rough one – I had hopes of steady 7:30 – 7:40s for 4 tempo miles, but the legs were just not having it. I think lack of sleep and some stomach troubles the past couple of days (i.e., not enough fuel!) really affected me during this run. Regardless of the sub-par pace, the effort felt hard, so I guess that counts for something, eh?

Breakfast was devoured – Kashi Heart to Heart with berries and almond milk

Even though I was exhausted by 8:00 a.m. (never a good sign), I had fun plans with Tracy to look forward to after work – cheering on the Bronx Bombers at Yankee Stadium on the most gorgeous spring evening we could have asked for!

And spending a small fortune on beer and Cracker Jacks, naturally.

I heart me a good ball game at Yankee Stadium, and even though the Yanks lost (I swear, I’m bad luck), catching up with Tracy made the trip well worth it. The night was so reminiscent of summer – I can’t wait for shorts, beach time, more ball games and outdoor/rooftop dining and drinking.

And I can’t forget – a break from school! I’ve decided to take the summer off from classes and focus on volunteering at a few NYC-area hospitals to get some needed clinical experience and beef up my application for the next round of dietetic internship submissions. I’m really looking forward to working with some great RDs and learning more about what they go through on a daily basis.

That’s all I got tonight, but coming up on the blog:

  • Why fat is good
  • My television debut (!?)
  • A Mexican-themed recipe
Question: Favorite thing about summer? Besides the beach, baseball and outdoor NYC fun, I can’t wait to get some great summer runs in!

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