Monthly Archives: November 2015

Be brilliant with the basics. . . consistency

Being a consistent runner is one of the keys to racing well. Settle into something and go at it for a period of time. I think that is why training plans, for those of us who run, work so well. There should not be much to second guess. We use them to work for a successful outcome, which could mean a PR, a finished race, conquering a new distance. What consistency is NOT. . .

You wouldn’t run an interval workout everyday and you probably wouldn’t run a marathon every day. If you do you are going to be sick and injured all the time and won’t be able to run at all, so it’s self-policing. -Chris Harig, Improve Running Performance Through Consistent Training

Find a cross training workout that compliments your running to KEEP you consistent by helping you to stay injury free. And, when you try something new, give it at least 2 months!! Trust it. You will be surprised at the results. As I moved into my training cycle for Lookout 50, I knew that I needed to change something with my cross training. My cross training for a good part of this year has been weight training, in the gym. I went to visit my coach, Sonja, to find out what, if anything, I should change. I totally thought she would have me stay in the gym, but change my exercises or add weight to my routine or add reps to my routine. WELL, she rocked my mental world with something totally different and totally hard. She gave me a core workout. (kinda sounded easy when she told me about it. Boy was I wrong.) Here’s the gist. . .

The main benefit of core strength for runners is increased stabilization in the torso. Your core muscles – the chest, back, abs, and obliques – are what keep your torso upright when you run, and reduce “wobbling” when moving your arms & legs. When running, core strength allows the pelvis, hips, and lower back to work together more smoothly, with less rocking & thus, less excess energy expended. Core strength also significantly improves balance, meaning that you recover quickly from missteps small & large. –Runkeeper: core

Here are my key ways I stay consistent.

Consistent on an easy day: Form-when you run 4-6 days a week, it is a terrific time to work on form: hips tall, shoulders relaxed, “holster arms”. You do want tension in the core, but not the shoulders. It is also good to remind yourself to relax your jaw. I think that this is why smiling is so beneficial, during a race or during a hard training run.

Consistent over the course of my training: keep a log-I keep a separate calendar of only running/core stuff. I log mileage, pace, time, elevation (I’m a trail runner). It is easy to tally my monthly miles and compare the months I am training with the months that I am not. It is fun to look at these numbers.

Consistently add fun to the hard and easy days: running trips– you do not need to go far. For a trail runner, the more variety the better, especially because some of our long runs are in excess of 5 hours. For the road runner, I would also suggest this type of training. If you run a road race, of marathon distance within 4-5 hours of home. What a great time to travel to the course and complete your long run. Bring a friend, spend the night. This adds such a FUN element to your training. It is something to look forward to.

Consistently add accountability to my running: adopt a runner-this could be during a training cycle or even on a race day. We all struggle. It is nice to have someone with you to carry you along. We ALL need this. Okay, adopt as many runners as you can, especially if you know that your training will involve many hours or many miles. It is so great to have a friend or two join for part or all of a long or part of a short run.

To stay consistent when it might be HARD: join a group or a friend for a workout that might be challenging on your ownmany training plans will suggest a track workout, a hill workout, a pace workout, or a tempo workout. These are all WAY better to do with someone else. These are not supposed to be easy, but they can be fun. Part of the fun is being together. These types of workouts can also be intimidating. I promise they are less intimidating with a friend.

Find a coach or even find someone who is consistently running without injury! You will learn a lot. Staying injury free is a big one, especially for those of us who ARE over 40. I spent an hour with Sonja Friend-Uhl, master’s record holder and coach, and two friends (Delaina and Teresa). One important take away for me was what Sonja said about staying injury free. She told us that when you get injured as a master’s runner and miss some time training, it sets you back to the place you were before the injury. You will lose a lot of time and possibly have to miss a key race.

I firmly believe that if you reduce injuries and get stronger, you will run faster. I’ve seen this in countless athletes that I’ve worked with, from college athletes to professional athletes to recreational runners. The key concept here is consistency: When you reduce injuries, you miss fewer training opportunities. When you get stronger, you miss fewer training opportunities because your body can handle the stress that running puts on your joints, tendons, ligaments and bones. -Jay Johnson, How to Become a Consistent Runner and Nail New PRs

Leaving you with this quote from The Champion’s Mind, How Great Athletes Think, Train and Thrive, by Jim Afremow, Ph.D. A really, really good book if you have even the tiniest aspiration to THRIVE!

Do not limit yourself to small goals and do not underestimate your personal ability to become more successful. Go for the glory!



Lookout 50-My training

My goal race this year was Zion 100K. I ran that race in April this year. I used an 18 week training plan for this race. My average weekly mileage, during my training was 54 miles. I spent at least 16 of those days on the stationary bike because of two separate calf injuries. I finished this race in 17:57, 17:02 pace. Check out my race report-Zion 100K here, if you did not read it.

Immediately after Zion, I took at least 3 days off from any form of exercise. My feet were still swollen and I had a blister that got infected. I took 8 days after my rest and spent it on the bike. It was very good downtime from running. I started logging my running this June. June through August (17 weeks), my weekly average was 51 miles.

It was not until August that I decided to run Lookout 50. From September until now (10 weeks), I have averaged 62 miles a week. What a blast I am having logging these miles. 🙂


  • I am doing a new workout routine, outside of the gym. Body weight exercises with bosu ball, yoga ball, resistance bands, medicine ball. I do this twice a week for about 45 minutes each session.
  • I am pushing my speed. Working on some negative split trail runs.
  • Running on the track one day a week for up to 7 miles, no more.
  • I am pushing my speed on my road runs that are between 5-10 miles. Adding some miles that are far outside my comfort zone.
  • Every 10 days, going to the gym.
  • Mental training: visualization, reading, mantras
  • running with a very motivated partner, who has raised her own running bar. . . Teresa Cox.

This week, I penned my race goals. ALL three are within my capabilities. It is cool to put it in writing. I am going to visualize my “A” goal this week. Makes me smile thinking about it now!

Can We Talk. . . about running?

What’s new in my running world? Nike’s, workouts, speed, reading

Shoes for the road: I’m sporting some new road shoes.  I have purchased the Brook’s Ghost for several years. My fav Ghost was the 6. Brooks is now on the Ghost 8. The 7 was just okay. I do not like the 8. I needed to find something new. What to do? Well, I enlisted the help of  “shoe dog” from Road Runner Sports, online. If a new runner asks me where to buy shoes, I will send them to Fleet Feat, Nashville  or Nashville Running Company! Both stores have some great people who love the sport and know their shoes.

I like a neutral road shoe that is light and NOT minimal. “Shoe dog” fetched me the Nike Pegasus 32. I am not a huge Nike fan for shoes. The only Nike pair I have ever owned was the Terra Kiger for the trail. I do like the Pegasus. I am not sure I would buy it again or stock up on another pair, but I am enjoying the color and the light weight. I DO like it better than the Ghost 7 and the Ghost 8.

 Resistance Workout: I went and visited my marathon coach, Sonja Friend-Uhl, two months ago. I was at the beginning of my Lookout 50 training plan. I knew I needed something changed to compliment my running. I either needed to add heavier weight to my gym routine or I needed to change the exercises that I was doing at the gym.

Well. . . Sonja changed it up! She has me doing two days of body weight exercises. I am taking a break from the gym and working out at home, with the help of a bosu ball, yoga ball, medicine ball, resistance bands, a pull up bar and all 150 lbs. of me!!

So far, this has resulted in a few pounds of weight loss and some speed. So LO-VING IT!

Running Workouts: I’ve been flirting with a speed lately. I think one of my fav workouts was today’s 5 mile run: warm up mile, hard mile, relax mile, hard mile, comfortably hard mile to finish. My times went like this, 9:11, 7:54, 9:06, 7:51 and 8:36. LOVED IT.

I’m still running a middle distance to long distance track workout on Tuesdays. This week’s for me was 10 x 500 (300 m recovery). The last 100 of the 500 was a stride.

On the trail, most of my runs are long in duration and long in mileage. That is how I like it. 🙂 For the past two weeks, I have been trying to negative split at least two of the four workouts I run in the woods, during the week. My biggest accomplishment this week? I negative split my 29-miler. Over the moon about it!!

Reading: On the night stand now, two marvelous books that will fine tune my mind for my upcoming 50 miler, How Bad Do You Want It? by Matt Fitzgerald and The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive by Jim Afremow, Ph.D. I am 1/4 of the way through The Champion’s Mind. It is good stuff! Some good quotes so far. . .

. . . the ultimate goal in the moment of action is to transcend conscious thinking so that you are fully experiencing your performance in the moment (i.e.. you are in flow state). Seek to improve the quality of your thoughts and to quiet the mind.

Motivational self-talk was found to be most effective for tasks requiring strength or endurance, like running or cycling.

Learn to think more positively about yourself and your game.

Be brilliant with the basics–because the fundamentals don’t change.

Coming soon. . . some details on my training for Lookout 50.