Balancing act: When training becomes more than living.

I was inspired this weekend while snowboarding to write about this subject. When does training take over living and you turn into a slave to try and keep up the standards of training that you have become accustomed to. When does living take a back seat. To be the best and excel do you have to stop everything else?? Rhetorical question:) ….however I will answer….I think no, just find the balance between both.

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I have fallen guilty to this type of dedication and it has taken a while to find a balance where I can still train hard&be consistent, race and still live life. If you don’t know what I’m talking about maybe some of these sound familiar “aww lets not go out to that dinner b’day party tonight, I gotta long run in the morning”, “sorry cant make that event, I’m busy (running!!)”, “If we go away to the spa this weekend for our relaxing, unwinding, romantic  trip, I’m brining my running shoes”!!!!!

You get the idea. And sometimes loved ones slip through the cracks, if you are lucky like me, they are YOUR BIGGEST SUPPORTERS, and don’t ever complain, but its important to not loose sight of those people too when your training.

Training requires commitment and in many ways its like going out with someone, you can’t just go for days without doing do it!

Every now and then I slip back into neglecting other areas of life to run. I am not saying that it is right or wrong, good or bad, just in my experience you can miss some other things in life unless you find a happy medium 🙂 . It is always a sometimes a battle to fit in training every day, every week, especially long training runs and massive chunks of the day where your literally M.I.A!!!

Sometimes theres too much to be done, not enough hours and yes sometimes you have to accept that maybe today, I won’t be able to fit in a run. Its important obviously not to use this as an excuse “not” to run and abuse it, but every now and then there just won’t be time, some day some how…its happened to us all and the important thing is to just accept it, if you can’t change it, that particular day and try and change it the next.

So here are some things that I apply every day, every week, to make sure I can always fit in my scheduled amount of training. I work hard to stay on track with this but I am only human and training for an ultra marathon has its ups and downs!! So I do my best and these few tricks definitely help me out.

PLAN: I’m a planner, so PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!!! I usually plan out my runs, especially my long runs and my back to back runs (B2B). I always know where and when, what time and how long I have to run each day. I am an early riser so much week day shorter runs are done before I even begin my work day at 7am. Find and plan the right time

If you in advance plan you won’t miss them.

Fit running in whenever you can , on your lunch break, early in the morn, run to the grocery shop, run twice in the day if you only have time for a short run on your lunch break. Like the other day, I had literally a million and one things to do and was getting really panicked about fitting in my run, I knew that I was gona miss out on dinner and spending time with my hunny if I ran after 630 pm, but it was looking like that was the way it was gona have to be.

SO I decided that while my car window was getting fixed (it was gona take 45-60 mins) I would just run while I waited. Was it the nicest area??…HELL NO smelly stinky industrial SF area, but I pottered off killed two birds with one stone and got to spend the evening as planned with my “biggest supporter”!! Look outside the box, when it comes to fitting in runs, be inventive and stop saying the words “uh theres no time…” maybe just maybe there is, somewhere in there:) you just have to look for it.

Write out a schedule and mark it off each day so you can see your progress and dedication.

Sign up for a race, having a goal is one of the best ways to stay on track because your working towards something.

Seek motivation, read books, articles on line, chat to other runners.

Be inspired, Run your own race&Live your own life. 

Everyones balancing act will be different but don’t stop trying to do it.

Happy running 🙂

Back to base-ics!!

So this weekend will see three weeks since NVM and I have allowed myself this time to recover. I made the mistake before of rushing back too quick and injuring myself, not very badly but enough to keep me off for a week!! So while I kept the week right after my marathon to 35 miles, I only ran 13 miles as my longest run since the race.

And I feel great…body wise, my mind however always seems to worry that I somehow, will have lost my base endurance fitness by taking time to let myself recover (which is silly!!) but its one of the turmoils of being a runner!! I go through it after every race, honestly its silly base training is most important and it doesn’t go because you give your body some well needed rest and re-fuel for the next set of training and goals. BTW I tell myself this all the time!!

Anyhoo tomorrow will see my first loooonnnnnggg run or what I would consider a longish run of 18-20 mile, I am excited yet nervous. I am now embarking on my ultra running training with back to back runs every second weekend, so it will be getting fairly intense and so to speak I will be getting back to some serious base training 🙂

Heres a few things that help me when I am returning to base training again after a marathon:

Allow yourself to recover from the previous race, as we always run harder on race day and often feel great afterwards which makes us think the day after is an absolutely perfect time to go for an 8 mile run!!!

Re-fuel and and keep up running in the 2-3 weeks after your race, you don’t want to let all the hard training go to wast, but ease up on the milage and give yourself ample time to recover and start building back up slowly.

Use the lower milage running, to work on other areas of the body and build up over all strength. I like to focus on some yoga and core work along with more weights during this time, as its stuff that I limit a little bit when I am hard core training. 

Tell yourself out loud that all the previous base training is still there and not to freak out about having lost it during the recovery period.

Set a goal, a race, within the coming months to keep you on track.

Don’t forget to stretch, stretch, stretch:)

If you find getting up in the morning to fit in a long run too time consuming or tough, do a shorter run and just run twice (they recommend it in ultra running training!) Use the longer evenings to run again, I use it to take time to run with my beau!!while still having the morning run just for myself.

Build up gradually and set realistic goals.

I know my body well, know yours and your limits too. 

Find what works for you.

If you have an injury let yourself recover, the stuff mentioned in this article is my personal experience and advice.

I thankfully don’t suffer from too many injuries so I cannot really contest to recovery time when you sustain particular ones. I can only reinforce that you need to respect and know your body’s limits, but don’t be too limited by your body (if that makes sense!!)

Use the spring to try out some new foods that are in season and new ways to fuel. (I will have a few recipes to follow this article k:) )

Be well and happy running.

 

Some spring recipes for fueling and feeling fresh!!

This Recipe is from “moms Kitchen handbook” and is so quick, tasty and simple and really filling.

BROWN SUGAR BABY BOK CHOY WITH PORK AND TOFU

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ pound ground pork
  • 2 bunches baby bok choy
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 to 2 pinches red pepper flakes
  • 12 ounces firm tofu
  • Cooked brown rice*

Set a large sauté pan or wok over medium heat. While the pan heats up, peel and chop the garlic. Drizzle the sesame oil in the pan and add the garlic. Saute for a minute, without letting it burn. Add the pork and cook, stirring as needed, until cooked through.

While the pork cooks, roughly chop the bok choy, being sure to remove the little wedge of core at the bottom. Put in a colander and rinse thoroughly. Give the colander a good shake to remove excess water.

Add the chopped bok choy to the pork and stir. Drizzle in the soy sauce, vinegar and brown sugar and continue to stir fry until the bok choy leaves are wilted, and the stems are tender, but not mushy. This is will happen in just a few minutes.

Cut the tofu into small cubes and add it to the pan along with the red pepper flakes. Stir gently just until the tofu is heated through. Remove from heat and serve with cooked brown rice.

Makes 2 to 3 main dish servings

Tuna Burgers

Ingredients:

2 cans of tuna

1 egg

1 cup of wholewheat bread crumbs, (I usually make my own)

1 tsp dijon mustard

1/2 cup oats

fresh cilanto and parsley

1/2 chopped onion

1 glove garlic minced

pinch of chilli flakes

lemon juice ( a little squeeze!!)

Black pepper

Blend all the stuff together in a bowl with hands until firm, make sure tuna was drained well as you don’t want the burgers too moist. 

Pop into the fridge overnight (i find they stay together perfectly if you refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Then pop them on the pan and fry up slowly until they are brown and crispy, serve with salad and cous cous or whatever.

Cheap, simple and yum. Makes about 4 burger patties.

Enjoy

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Napa Valley Marathon Recap:)

576241_10151369475387982_406852846_nAbove is some of my schwaaaaag from the race. So march 3rd marked the 35th NVM and also marked my new PR of 4:25 mins a full 14 mins faster than my last race, sub 4 here I come!!!

The race itself was very scenic and if one word could describe it, it would be “quiet”. Honestly this is one of the quietest races I have EVER been in, it was miles of sometimes very little noise if any. Except for the guy who was a bit behind me who at every mile marker shouted really loud “going down!!” (presume he meant going down in miles!). But it was so quite than honestly every time he shouted I got a fright and startled back into the present!!!

As for no music, I was grand it wasnt too challenging but the quiteness of the course kinda had me a little bored by the time I reached mile 16. I was moving it 🙂 so no motivation loss at all, but it was starting to get a little hot (for me!!) and I was just wishing I had a lil diddy to rock out to . BUT……..fear not, because as I rolled out of mile 16, I got a huge suprise my cheer squad (I’ve never had one before, not mid race anyway), there was Tiff, Al and Paul with massive neon signs and just the right amount for get up and go I needed!!!

ImageHooray!! Quick kiss for my babe and off I went!!

The course def wasn’t as flat as it appears to be advertised as. It was somewhat misleading on the ol’ flatness front!!But I mean it wasn’t exactly hilly ( compared to trail running!!!) but its certainly no CIM or the other end…SFM!!! I really enjoyed the race and was soooo happy with my time.

I worked hard for this one, extra hard really, on my speed work and it paid off. I maintained a 10 minute mile all the way resulting in a PR and placing 411th of almost 900 women, so thumbs up girls!! and 900th over all out of 2300 runners, so not first place but it has the same affect for me as I worked really hard and achieved the goal and time I set forth for myself.

Weather was perfect for me, cloudy bit warm, aid stations and over all show put on was top notch shout out to all the volunteers. I was disappointed with the race tees though, there unisex and just really out of shape and big, and for a year honoring women I felt they could have at least made male and female fitted tees ya know, but apart from that great course great race, great finish, great experience.

ImageLittle post race mimosa, if a little flushed after all the sun!!

ImageIn transit…rocking out my SFM ambad-ass-ador gear!

Look at the muscle in my legs!!I’ve really come along way, 55-60 mile weeks are resulting in muscle machine!!

Happy running everyone and hooray for the longer evenings and brighter mornings!!