Runner’s Woes: Feeling Like A Turtle

It’s no secret, I am a slow runner.  Heck, this blog is aptly named Slow Mo Mother Runner for a reason!  Anyhow, I’m nearly finished with my second month of marathon training and I can’t help but feel the looming doubt creep in.  I feel like I am getting slower!

How come I’m not getting faster?!  One month ago I was regularly seeing 10:10-10:40 splits for my 5ks and felt I was on the right track, but today I am struggling to hit sub 11:00 splits.  I’m not quite sure what is going on, but I want to make a change.  I want to be faster!

I’ve been considering changing up my training, but am not quite sure where to begin.  This whole running thing is still fairly new to me and when I look at training plans and various routines to get faster I begin to get a touch confused and overwhelmed.  Another factor could be that my body needs more fuel.  I recently discovered that my RMR is 1590 and I’m typically consuming that amount of calories which means I am falling short and my body might be fighting me.

I went for a short mile run the other day just to see how fast I could go if i was going at a slightly higher pace than normal.  I ran the mile in 9:41.  Nothing too crazy, but it did show me that my body is capable of going faster.  Now, it’s a matter of building the endurance at that pace and then working on increasing said pace.
Are you trying to get speedier?  What has worked for you?

Finding Your Motivation And Fighting The Motivation Monster

Screen shot 2014-04-02 at 8.52.09 AM

Let’s talk about motivation.  Motivation is a powerful thing, but being motivated can only get you so far.
Over the past year I’ve spoken with many people who struggle with the motivation monster.  The monster that eats up every ounce of motivation you had when you decided to start your journey.  The monster that creeps in when results and progress slow down.  The monster that sometimes holds you back from starting at all.

Do you know what I am talking about?  It might be an all too familiar scenario for you.  I know it was for me.  In the past year I’ve definitely faced my monster multiple times, but the one thing that really kept me going was my determination to stay motivated.

I know it sounds crazy and you might say, well isn’t and shouldn’t motivation be enough?  It would be great if that were the case, wouldn’t it?!  Let’s break it down into terms and compare a few.

The dictionary defines motivation as:

motivation- n
1. the act or an instance of motivating
2. desire to do; interest or drive
3. incentive or inducement

We can all come up with a reason of why we want to get fit and be healthy.  The why is all too easy.  I wanted this life for me because I wanted to be the healthiest and happiest person I could be for my family.  I didn’t want to feel trapped and hidden in a body I didn’t recognize.

But what happens when your “why” changes?  What happens when your motivation isn’t clear anymore?

That’s when determination comes into play.

The dictionary defines determination as:

determination-n

1. the act or and instance of making a decision

2. condition of being determined; resoluteness

Being determined is what will ultimately keep you going.  Everyone can have the motivation to want to do something, but having the determination to stick it through when times get rough is the hard part.

For me my motivating factors are constantly changing.  At first it was training for the marathon.  I was motivated by the goal in sight, but there were days where I began to question my motives.  Why was I doing this?  Well, because I had made the decision to dedicate the time and energy and to complete the task at hand.  This is why I am a firm believer in setting goals.

A goal can provide motivation and the act of commitment will provide the will and determination to keep that motivation alive.  Does that make sense?  They go hand in hand and together create an unstoppable momentum that will keep you going.  Much like a rolling stone won’t gather moss, a person who is striving for new goals will be less likely to lose their motivation.

For me, starting new beachbody programs is what helps me keep my motivation alive.  I am setting mini-goals through the course of each program.  The end goal is always to follow the program and complete it.  Earning my free shirt and sharing my results at the end are things that help push me forward.  Much like collecting race bibs, completing these programs and earning my shirts are my badges of honor.  They show that I stuck it through and met my goal.

What keeps your motivation alive?  What goals are you setting for yourself?

 

Review & Giveaway: Bolder Bands

I was recently given the opportunity to review the awesome headbands from Bolder Band (bbolder.com). When it came to choosing a pattern to review and giveaway the decision was tough, but I went with the Tribal pattern for myself and the Blue Sorbet for the giveaway (see below for details).

First things first.  Let’s talk about how absolutely freaking cute this thing is!  I love the bright pattern and appreciate that the band can be worn multiple ways (wide, thin, over the ear, behind the ear, you name it!)

image

Not only is it great for wicking away sweat, but it’s definitely a great option for those bad hair days or when you’re at home lounging around the house. Hell, it’s a great, “Oh crap, I just rolled out of bed and need to look fancy in 5 minutes”, kinda band.

Okay, let’s get to the real question.  Does it stay put?

First off let me premise by saying I don’t know if it’s my head or my slick hair, but the headband slippage struggle is a real issue for me. I have yet to find the perfect band that doesn’t require at least a teeny bit of adjusting during a workout. After reading up on the rave reviews for this band I was stoked!  It promised to cover all the bases.  Cute, fashionable, sweat wicking, and sticking abilities all in one.

I gave the band its trial run at one of my softball games, but I made the mistake of not reading up on how to properly place the headband so I did experience some light slippage.  These bands are meant to stay put when worn a specific way.  “IF you wear them correctly (low on your forehead – more like a sweat band less like a plastic headband) AND you have the correct size, watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7uFWP1_C3g ” the headband should not slip.

Guess who’s headband stayed put like a champ during her next trial run?

image

 

Yup, that would be me!  I really love these bands because they are lightweight and they do their job of taming crazy frizzies all while wicking away that sparkly sweat from your brow. Another huge plus to this band is that it’s not so tight that it gives me a headache.  I def recommend these to people who are looking for a stylish way to keep their hair out of there face and sweat out of their eyes.

All in all I can see myself getting plenty of use out of this pretty band!  Now, let’s talk about how you can get your hands on one for FREE!  I’m hosting a giveaway over on my IG page (@sarah_griff_fit) so you can get your chance to win the Blue Sorbet pattern for yourself!  In order to qualify for the giveaway your page must be public (so I can see you share the post) and you must follow me @sarah_griff_fit on IG.  Keep an eye out!  The giveaway post will be going live shortly!

 

Building Speed and Happy Belated National Running Day!

Ever since I completed my first full marathon back in January I’ve been struggling with building my speed.  As of late, it seemed that no matter how hard I tried I could barely break an 11:00 minute pace for my 5K distances.  If I could get sub 11 minutes for my 3-4 mile runs, it was a good day.

I’m not a fast runner (hello, I’m a Slow Mo Mother Runner!), but back in November before my mileage was crazy high, I ran my best 5k at a 10:10 pace.  I also ran a 10k with a sub 11:00 pace.  Both of these have been tough paces to obtain again.  That was until this past weekend!  I finally hit a 10:10 pace again!

10346366_721909884527565_5399344539351721673_nI was thrilled with my run!  I wasn’t expecting much when I stepped out the door that morning.  In fact, my run started off crappy because Pandora wasn’t working and I ended up running without any music.  I was worried that it might slow me down, but there was something nice about a trail run without the distraction of rhythmic beats in my ears.

I listened to my breathing, watched my HR, and went with the flow.  Mile 2 was a bit trying, but once I turned around at 1.7 miles I knew I was over halfway finished and I knew I had room to push myself because I was nowhere near my max HR.  So I kept an eye on my Polar FT40 and told myself I would build my HR at 1/4 mile increments.  It worked!  I build my speed back up and finished off strong.  It was a pretty awesome feeling to hit that mark again.

For the month of May, post relay race, I had been working on building my speed.  I incorporated hills, fartleks, and built my mileage for a couple of runs.  I’ve also listened to my HR and have been working on what points during a run to really push myself.  Ideally, I’ve found that staying at 160 for the first half of my run and then building things up and pushing hard towards the latter half works best.  I do max out around 185-190 and can’t really push myself for too long at that HR, but I find it’s my sprint rate and it works for that last short final push.

I even went out yesterday on National Running Day and put in a decent 5K with a 10:37 split.  I’m still trying to master the negative split because mine still look like uneven pyramids. I am getting stronger and can feel myself getting faster.

10371443_724071847644702_3406437947772313341_n

These next couple of months I am reading up and playing around with a few things to see where it takes me.  One other thing that I have been trying to master is my stride.  I’m so used to a heavy legged short stride and would really love to get away from that for my shorter runs.  Based on my current research it seems that a lot of small changes can mean a world of difference with pace. My goal before the end of the summer is to get  sub 10:00 min pace for a 5K distance.  I would love to see a 9:00 too!

What are your pace goals?  What are you doing to get faster?  How are you building your speed?

RICE: The End of an Ice Age

Wow! I was just suggesting that a friend of mine be sure to ice her shins after going out on her first run in years. Maybe it’s not the best idea anymore? This is a very interesting read on the standard of using RICE for sports injuries. I don’t know about you, but that and NSAIDS were my go to fix for sore shins and tired and achy muscles. In retrospect, I haven’t been so diligent on icing this past year and haven’t faced any serious injury. Hmmmm. A lot to ponder about how we treat our bodies and how they can recover on their own.

***Athletic Medicine HAS MOVED***

Coaches have used my “RICE” guideline for decades, but now it appears that both Ice and complete Rest may delay healing, instead of helping.” – Gabe Mirkin, MD, March 2014


In 1978, Gabe Mirkin, MD coined the term RICE. Health care practitioners to laypersons are quick to recognize RICE as the ‘gold standard’ treatment option following injury. Followers of my blog know my stance against ice and now there is support from the physician who coined the term. Yes, the very same physician, Dr. Gabe Mirkin, who coined RICE, is now taking a step back. I reached out to Dr. Mirkin and asked for permission to share his story. As you will read below in Dr. Mirkin’s full post, the lack of evidence for cryotherapy is something we must listen to.

ice-for-injuriesThis is a controversial topic. My blog Why Ice and Anti-inflammatory Medication is NOT the Answer sparked a lot of debate. I had…

View original post 1,393 more words

Running With Your Heart

Let me tell you a little (well not so little) secret about how I pace myself during my longer runs.

I listen to my heart.

man-running-heart-rate-beatPhoto courtesy of iStockphoto, Eraxion

Marathon training taught me a valuable lesson on how listening to your body plays an important role on your overall health and performance.

As a competitive athlete, I was always trained to go at a “balls to the walls”, all out, heart pounding intensity.  For me this doesn’t mesh well with long distance running.  I learned this on my first 15 mile run.

I was running much slower than my normal pace due to the crazy October heat (yeah it was 86 and humid in October last fall) and still felt like I was dying.  For the life of me I couldn’t figure out what was going on.  That wasn’t until I looked down at my HR monitor and it read 195!  I was at my max HR and moving so slow (15 min mile + slow), it didn’t make sense.  I was only 6 miles in and I was ready to cry out of frustration.  I ended up switching to run/walk intervals for the remainder of the run.  I wasn’t happy about it, but I wanted and needed to get my HR back down under 170 BPM to save myself from overheating. 
It was the first time that I really listened to my heart and learned the importance of doing so.  Had I kept pushing myself to reach a certain pace, I could have found myself collapsing due to heat stroke.  I know HR training isn’t for everyone, but for me it really does help. It tells me when I need to slow down (something that can be a struggle for me) and lets me know when I have more energy to speed up.

I know, it’s not a perfect science.  Our bodies can act differently under varied circumstances and small things (lack of sleep, caffeine, weather) can account for an increased HR during training.  Regardless, for me I feel like it’s a useful tool and I think I will work on putting more focus into it over the next couple of months.

I found this useful chart (based on my Max HR and resting HR) and do find that it correlates  with how I perform on my longer runs.  If you’re interested in learning what ranges work for you hop on over to Running For Fitness to create your own guide.

Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 12.00.57 PM

I’m really excited to see how my running will change once I reincorporate HR training into my routine.  I am eager to see what my sprints look like and look forward to reaching new running goals as the weather warms up.

How do you train?  Do you listen to your body (or heart) and let it guide you?  Do you push yourself to meet a certain pace?  Do you shoot for distance or time?

Interested in learning more about heart rate training?  Visit Competitor for, “Running 101:  Training With A Heart Rate Monitor”, or “Get In The Zone: The Pros Of Heart-Rate Training For Runners”

Get In The Zone: The Pros Of Heart-Rate Training For Runners
Read more at http://running.competitor.com/2014/02/training/get-in-the-zone_66832#P5xFMLz0pCOcGrZf.9
Get In The Zone: The Pros Of Heart-Rate Training For Runners
Read more at http://running.competitor.com/2014/02/training/get-in-the-zone_66832#P5xFMLz0pCOcGrZf.99

2014 Fit Goals

With 9 days to go until my first ever marathon I can’t help but think about goals and how awesome it feels to accomplish them.  Last year I set a HUGE goal to run a marathon and began training in July of 2013.

Today, I’m just 9 days away from completing that goal.   I am nervous.  I am excited.  I am READY.  I’ve spent the past 6 months training for ONE race.  The race.  Hell, I have butterflies in my stomach as I type this post.  I can’t believe the time is almost here.  In just nine days (God willing), I will be able to wear my medal proudly and shout “I did it!  I ran a freaking marathon!”

This will be my first accomplished Fit Goal of 2014!  It’s not my only goal though, I have many more and honestly believe that with hard work and dedication I will accomplish each and every one of them.

2014 Fit Goals

  1. Run the entire Walt Disney World Marathon on January 12, 2014
  2. Sign-up for and complete either the Wineglass or Empire State Marathon.
  3. Sign-up and complete a Tough Mudder or similar obstacle race.
  4. Sign-up and PR in at least one Half-Marathon.
  5. Complete at least one unassisted pull-up.
  6. Run faster/more frequently (aim to triple mileage).
  7. Complete 1 round of p90x3.
  8. Sign-up for and complete a few 5k races.
  9. Eat cleaner!  I struggle with this one and often fall off into old habits.
  10. Start biking during the warm months.
  11. Sign-up for the 100 mile Ride for Life
  12. Lose the weight/lose inches–ideal weight=150lbs, size 6/8
  13. Sleep more!
  14. Blog more about fitness! (not really a fit goal, but related–I’d like to make sure to keep you updated on my progress and struggles)

There you have it!   I’m so ready to bust through these goals!  What are your fit goals for 2014?  Are you setting big goals or small goals?