Run in the Cold, Feel the Burn

A view from my short, painful run.

 

I went for a run on Sunday morning while I was back home in Massachusetts. It was a beautiful, crisp morning so I was really hoping to get in some serious miles and check out all the foliage. It was about 48-50 degrees so I wore crops, a tank top and a light jacket. My fingers felt a little cold, but other than that I was wearing the perfect running outfit for this autumn morning. I wasn’t feeling affected by the current weather and certainly didn’t think it would affect my breathing. Even though I wasn’t feeling the temperature physically, my lungs were not happy running in this new environment and in this slightly colder air. I wasn’t asthmatic or wheezing, but my chest burned every time I took a breath until I eventually had a continuous fire in my chest. I was immediately frustrated because I wanted to keep going on my intended route (including some  fun hills and great views), but it just felt too hard and painful. In the second mile my legs started cramping (from lack of oxygen and poor breathing?) so I cut my run short and ended a perfect two mile loop from my house, about five miles short of what I intended.

Discouraged after this run, I now am nervous for the impending cold weather of winter. It’s only going to get colder, and I’m going to have to get used to it if I want to keep running outside. (No treadmill for me, remember?) I’ve read in the past that running in the cold will completely change your running for the better,  but how long does it totally suck before you feel those rewards? I found this link from Livestrong, but no solutions are offered.

If you have any tips for me, leave them here or on Facebook or Twitter.

Happy (?) Running,
The Run Around Girl

In Need of a New Run Goal

As I wrote in my last post, I haven’t been doing too much running around. I’m finding myself less motivated and more time constrained to go on runs any longer than 3 miles. If anything l’ll run to a fitness class and back, a couple miles at most. I miss that super-accomplished feeling after a long run. So, a new run goal is needed. I don’t want to make it too complicated or feel restricted by it, so it’s going to be simple: run for an hour and a half by November 16th (one month from today.)

I ran for just over an hour (1:05)  this summer, but I only did it once and I’ve been trying to do it since. (“Try” is a loose term here.)  I think I can accomplish this new goal soon, but I’m giving myself a month’s time so I can find a good day to do it and not be upset with myself if I don’t do it sooner.

I saw on Facebook that a friend of mine completed the half marathon I was thinking of doing. I had a serious pang of jealousy when I saw her post including her time and a description of the race, but then I realized that I made the right decision. Realistically, I never could have prepared for the race, and if I’d still registered for it unprepared it would’ve been a source of anxiety. When I do a half marathon one day, I want to give my training the time it deserves so I set myself up for success.

It’s onto the next goal! This will help me have some more running in my life and overload my cardio. With this unseasonably warm weather I should be good to go.

 

Happy Running!
The Run Around Girl

A New Found Run Love

You caught me. As your Run Around Girl, I haven’t been running around too much recently, and I’m definitely missing it. I still do a couple short runs a week, but with dance, work and other workouts, running’s been on the back burner.

I got a coupon in the mail recently, giving me two free weeks at New York Sports Club. I was there in a second to redeem my trial membership, excited to have the equipment at my disposal. Some are flabbergasted when I tell them that I’ve never run on a treadmill before, so on this cold, rainy day I decided to go for it.

I hopped on the only available treadmill. After 10 minutes of running, I was bored out of my mind. I had to put on my most motivating, pump-it-up playlist to even get through those 10 minutes. I ran a moderate 6-6.5 speed, but after a boring start, I began sprinting so I could keep my attention focused and my workout going. I upped my speed to 8-8.5 for these intervals.

Here’s the workout:

  • Run for 10 minutes at a moderate pace
  • Sprint for 1 minute
  • Jog for 2 minutes
  • Alternate this sprinting and jogging combo 6 times
  • Cool down for 5 minutes

I loved this because I felt distracted by watching the clock; the intervals were over before I knew it. The 8-8.5 speed is about a 7 minute mile, a pace I’m not sure I’d be able to run on pavement alone.

I completed my gym time with 30 more minutes on the (beloved) elliptical. Even though I was drenched in sweat and had tired out my legs, I loved this workout. I’m not sure I would’ve gone that fast or done that many sprints had I been outside. Not to mention, I was able get a great cardio workout while avoiding the rain.

Unfortunately, my membership only lasts another week, so I don’t think I’ll have the luxury of treadmill use in my future for much longer. I’ll have to try this same workout outside and see how I fare.

Happy Running!
The Run Around Girl

Plank’s Book Club: The First 20 Minutes

During Run Club there’s always one place the conversation inevitably travels too: books. We all have different preferences in literature, but it’s become clear that most of our clients love to read. So, we’ve decided to start a Plank Book Club!

All of the books we read will be fitness related in some way. Here’s the first one:

The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer is by Gretchen Reynolds, author of The New York Times’ weekly Phys Ed column on their Well Blog. Frequent readers of this blog, we were intrigued when the book came out.

By Thursday, October 11th, we at Plank will have read through Chapter 5: What We Mean When We Talk About Endurance, and you’ll get a full blog update on the book thus far. If we feel inspired along the way, be on the lookout for a post or two that we just have to share.

 To read along with us, purchase the book here.

Let us know if you’re reading with us. Let the page turning begin!

Read more about the book here.

Running, My New Fitness Skill

While running around this week, I had a couple important realizations.

First, and ultimately, I’m not going to train for a half marathon as I thought I might a couple of weeks ago. Sad, I know, but I think this will be the best for me right now. Let me trace my train of thought for you about the other important realization:

I broke down why I wanted to do a half marathon in the first place. The accomplishment of actually finishing the race was the main reason, but the idea of time consuming training sounded awful. I know I would’ve had some good runs in there where I felt excited and driven, but I know I would be spreading myself too thin. Because of this I inevitably wouldn’t do some of the workouts I planned because of work, dance, and other obligations, and I’d, in turn, get down on myself. I didn’t want to set myself up for failure at something I didn’t have my heart set on from the start.
I realized that I’ve been so dependent on accomplishing running goals because I didn’t know how I would make myself run otherwise. Lost for what my next goal should be, training for a half marathon seemed like a good one to set. But maybe, instead, I’m at a point where I don’t need to set running goals for myself anymore. I can just decide to go for a run for the fun of it, for the release, for the calorie burn, whatever my motivation is on that day.
This is when the realization hit me. Before I started running in April, I couldn’t just go for a run. If I wanted to exercise I’d have to pay for a dance or workout class, at the mercy of their schedule and offerings. I couldn’t go to the gym because I couldn’t afford to belong to one. I could walk, but when you already do so much of that as a New Yorker, it certainly doesn’t feel like a workout. Now, I can run, and that is a skill. It’s something I’ll have with me my whole life to do whenever and whereever I please with whatever motivation that drives me. I’ve developed a skill.
Fitness of any kind is just that–a skill. You can be skilled at something without being an expert or making it your whole life. That’s what a realized. If I want to run, I don’t have to be a runner. I don’t have to reprioritize my life in order to reap the benefits of this form of exercise. Instead I can just make the commitment to myself a couple times a week to go for a run and have fun.
Developing something you can rely on to make yourself healthier is a wonderful thing. Whether you mix up your workouts styles frequently or you’ve had an allegiance to one form of fitness for years, simply showing up and fitting in the time to exercise (in any style) helps you hone a skill. Even organizing your schedule to make fitness and wellness a part of your life is a skill. Sometimes it feels like the stars really have to align for us a fit a workout into our busy schedules, but making the effort for your body and your health is a skill that some don’t have.
I’m determined to continue to think of running just as that, a skill that I will continue to pull out of my back pocket whenever I need it. (I encourage you all to do the same with whatever form of fitness you enjoy or have always wanted to learn.) It doesn’t mean I can’t challenge myself within that skill. And who knows, maybe I will run a half marathon one day. But it will be on my terms and because it’s something I really want to do.
Happy (and free) running!
The Run Around Girl

How Much Running Around Do I Really Want To Do?

Running and I are in a strange relationship right now. I can’t stop asking myself, “To what degree do I pursue this?” Sometimes I’m so bored and tired with running that I search for ways to make it more interesting but other times (like my Summer Streets run) it’s fun and exciting. The latter is when I create more running goals, rush home to look at new running routes and Google half marathons in New England. By the end of last week I was really leaning towards training for a half marathon because I genuinely thought it would be fun (not to mention pretty a pretty bad ass transformation–unable to run half a mile to running a half marathon in less than 6 months), but I  was deflated when I couldn’t motivate myself to run at all on Saturday or Sunday. I did other things to work out and sweat, but I wasn’t interested in running as a workout.

I have a few problems with the idea of training for a half marathon:

  • These aren’t quick workouts anymore (one of the reasons why I started running to begin with.)When I try to go for a higher mileage run, it not only takes a long time to complete the mileage but planning the route so it’s interesting and stimulating is also time consuming.
  • I’m doing other workouts besides running that sometimes hinder my mileage and performance. Dance is my priority, so if I dance then decide to go for a longer run the day after then I usually can’t complete the run. The odds really have to be in my favor. I tend to not even try to do a longer run if I know my body and mind aren’t up for it since I don’t want to set myself up for failure.
  • It’s expensive to register for these things! I want to just “see how it goes” with training and then decide if I do the half marathon. Well, registration costs for the races go up almost every month you get closer to the race, and the longer I wait the less I can afford the race. I don’t want to spend the money and then not end up doing it.

I’m realizing that lately I can’t be happy with running as it is. I’m not embracing the full experience of just going for a run and seeing where it takes me but rather trying to plan it to a tee so it’s worth my time. Running a half marathon would be an amazing accomplishment, but what happens when I’ve completed that? A marathon? No thanks. I want to be happy with the accomplishment and then let it be, but that has never been my way with things. I always want to push for more. I’m worried that I would complete the half marathon and then be in this wishy washy place that I’m in now.

The irony: I think my answer to whether or not I do a half marathon will be found while thinking it out on a long run. I’ll let you know what I decide.

Let me know if you have any advice!

Happy Running,

The Run Around Girl

Run Spot: Summer Streets

When Julia told me about Summer Streets, I had never heard about it before. I did my research and was extremely excited about what I found. I decided that a run along the Summer Streets route would be a perfect start to a Saturday. Here is their route.

Since I sort of skimped on my mileage in the beginning of the week to accommodate other cardio workouts and dancing, I decided to make this run a doozy. I not only set out to run the entire Summer Streets route, but to also accomplish my goal of running for over an hour. I did it! (And ran just over 7 miles in the process. Yes!) Here was my Route. (I added on at the beginning of my run in Soho/Tribeca and then at the end in Central Park.)

Here were my pros and cons of the run:

Pros
Tourist Again
The Summer Streets route is like a fun, fit tour of NYC. Though all of the neighborhoods were familiar to me, I had never seen them all strung together in this manner. Trendy SoHo to bustling Union Square. Iconic Grand Central to timeless Central Park. It was all the best parts of Manhattan threaded together one right after the other.

Distracted Much?
I decided to opt out of music for this run, anticipating that I would need my wits about me if there were crowds. It seemed like the time (and miles) flew since I was engrossed with tons of people watching, the Summer Streets events, and New York landmarks.

A Cool, Eerie Feeling
Strangely enough I kept having an eerie feeling while running. With traffic prohibited on Lafayette/Park and only glimpses of regular NYC traffic on major cross streets, it felt like I was in some kind of post-apocalyptic fitness world where people only ran, walked, biked or rollerbladed. I know it sounds crazy, but it really was a constant and quite amusing thought of mine. Sort of like I Am Legend, sponsored by Nike.

Cons
Crowds
Even though Summer Streets did a great job of controlling the flow of pedestrian and bike traffic, it still got really congested in some places. I had a couple close calls with skateboarders and bikers, but ultimately steered clear of any collisions. Luckily, it got less crowded the farther uptown I went.

Fortunately, I didn’t collide with this lean, mean biking machine! Check out Julia at Summer Streets.


You still have one weekend left to check out Summer Streets, featuring two of our partners Whole Foods Market and REI. I highly recommend it! Run, walk or bike your way to all the free workout destinations.

Happy Running!
The Run Around Girl

The Worst Run Ever

I set out for a run aiming to accomplish my goal of running for an hour straight. Well, I was out of the house for over an hour, but some of that time was spent running and some of it I was recovering from a variety of obstacles that came my way. Here there are:

Untied shoe laces
I was stopped by a curious whipping sensation at my ankles. I never usually double knot, but I guess I will now.

Dog poop
I dodged it a few times along the first mile, and then I ran right into towards the end of my run. Lovely.

Bathroom Break
The perks of staying hydrated only go so far. A sweaty mess after 3.5 miles, I stopped in the World Financial Center (among all the classy, suited folks) to use their bathroom. Thanks, guys!

Side Cramp
This again! I haven’t had a side cramp in a long time, and this one came on toward the end of my run. With 1.5 miles to go, it was a slow and painful trek home.

Bikers beware
I came within three inches of colliding with a guy on his bike. Yes, it was my fault. I’m that jerk. When I was about the cross the lanes of the Hudson River Park, there was a ton of foot/bike/rollerblading traffic coming from the right. I was so focused on avoiding all of those people that when I looked to the left to cross, the biker and I were already on a crash course. One matrix-esque move on my part and I was in the clear, but I felt oh-so-ashamed running past the line of people who saw our almost-disaster. They all shook their heads at me.

My pride was a little battered and bruised after this run, and I felt like I just couldn’t win. Removed from the situation, it was probably one of the most eventful and funniest runs I’ve had. I’d prefer a more zenful cardio experience, but nothing like a few obstacles to keep you on your toes!

Happy Running!

The Run Around Girl

Running Goal Reached!…and amended

I haven’t been able to reach my 5-miles-per-week goal for a couple weeks now, but things are on the upswing! I almost wrote a post this week about how  this goal was kaput, but after running 5 miles on Tuesday I feel renewed. I (finally!) accomplished this goal! Where running the 5 miles felt like an obligation or a struggle before, this time it was a run that made me remember why I set the goal in the first place. The original goal was set because running 5 miles for the first time was fun! When I decided to set this intention, it didn’t feel like a goal but rather an insurance policy where I could ensure I’d have that difficult yet positive experience every week. I almost felt ashamed when it consistently wasn’t happening, but now I recognize that I was being too hard on myself.

I was failing for a couple reasons. I hadn’t run 5 miles since I set the goal to do so on June 11th. I’d put off that specific run until the end of the week when I was too sore to complete the entire mileage. Even if I tried to run 5 miles on a Friday, my legs were too sore from exercising Monday-Thursday. If I wasn’t feeling too sore, then I ran out of time when weekend plans took priority.

All in all, here’s my advice to those who are trying to reach any fitness goal:

  • A goal is something that you work to accomplishing, so if it takes a bit to find success with it, that’s ok! Realize why you set the goal in the first place so you can feel the joy in working towards it. Relish in the struggles. It only means you’re pushing yourself.
  • Set yourself up for success by finding the ideal conditions and time to accomplish the goal. Note when you make positive strides to your ambition,  then tailor your goal attempts to model that positive situation. Even if you fail you’ll know that you tried your best.

I’m going to even set myself another goal to be accomplished by the end of the summer (Labor Day), because the exciting thing about running 5 miles again was that I felt like I could’ve kept going even after I stopped. My knees were feeling tired, but cardio-wise I felt great. That being said, I want to run for a whole hour straight. I think, depending on my pace, I could then reach 6-7 miles. That would feel pretty damn cool.

Happy running! (I know I am!)
The Run Around Girl

Zero Miles Never Felt So Good

Image

I went to Key West this past week to enjoy a short trip with great friends. There were the typical vacation indulgences, but I made sure to have enough discipline to run at least one of the days I was away. 

Since Key West is a 2 mile by 5 mile island, it was hard to feel like I wasn’t lapping myself without straying too far from the area I was familiar with. I zigzagged around until I hit 3 miles. To start, I ran south from my hotel to Mallory Square and the waterfront. It was certainly a beautiful view, and I knew that running by water anywhere I go is something that will keep me distracted and happy.  I ran to “Mile Zero,” also known as the southernmost part of the continental US. I couldn’t help but feel very Forrest Gump in this moment even if this “accomplishment” was in the first couple minutes of my run. I didn’t dawdle at this landmark, but rather ran north so I could get a couple more miles under my belt. My running scenery included other Key West landmarks like the Ernest Hemingway House, the Key West Lighthouse and Duval Street.

Luckily, I ran at 5:00pm, so the heat wasn’t too unbearable, but after a day of being in the sun and the ocean I felt pretty dehydrated. The 5:00pm time also meant that happy hour had begun for many people on the island, so I was a big hit. As I ran by, some groups congratulated on the calories I was burning and others asked if I would run an extra mile for them. That certainly made things a bit more interesting.

I was pleased with this run since it served the purpose of why I started running to begin with: a free workout I could do anywhere. Besides that, I was able to do reconnaissance work for the night ahead. I had never been down to that Mile Zero part of the water before, so I was able to check out that scene and report back to my friends before we went out for the night. I learned more about my destination while still taking some time to myself.

Happy Running!

The Run Around Girl