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Training Summary: July 20 – 26

training summary july

The last week has just flown by!

Week of: July 13 – July 19

Goal Check-In:

As I mentioned last week, I hadn’t quite figured out my half marathon training plan to get me through the remainder of the MRTC Road Race Series. I spent some time during the last week putting together my plan and I feel really good about it. I’ll be using a Higdon Half Marathon training plan as a base. Some of the weeks will be modified slightly due to races in the series, but for the most part I’m sticking with the training plan as written.

Ok, let’s get to the recap!

Monday –

  • 3 miles @10:34 average pace
  • It was WAY too hot out (high of 99, and it was over 80 at 7 AM) so I figured today was a good day to try some treadmill running!
  • My breathing was comfortable and I enjoyed not worrying about maintaining a particular pace.
  • I had to stop for a few seconds around mile 2.5 because my foot and right calf had fallen completely asleep. Weird!

Tuesday –

  • Nothing

Wednesday –

  • 2 miles @ 11:05 average pace
  • So muggy! It had rained overnight so it was a little cooler but much more humid than usual.
  • I attempted and achieved negative splits.
  • This run reminded me that it’s MUCH easier to hold a pace on a treadmill (duh).

Thursday –

  • 3 miles @ 10:41 average pace
  • More negative splits!
  • My right leg started to fall asleep again around 2.5 miles. I loosened my laces at the end of the run so we’ll see if that helps.

Friday –

  • Nothing

Saturday & Sunday –

  • We spent Saturday afternoon and evening with some great friends for a seafood boil! I had so much fun but realized when we got home that I had just spent the last 4 hours sitting outside and sweating in 100 degree weather. Maybe not my smartest idea?
  • I woke up with an incredibly painful Charley horse on Saturday night. Have you ever had one of these before? Ouch!
  • Sunday morning I felt less than great when I woke up but pushed it out of my mind because it was time for the second 5K of the MRTC Road Race Series!
  • You can read the full recap of the race here. I love seeing so many Memphis runners get together for these races! I’m also very lucky that my boyfriend, my best friend and a few other friends of ours have all signed up to do the series too. It’s so fun carpooling together and hanging out after the race!

Total Distance –

11.15 miles or 1 hour, 58 minutes of running!

Up Next –

  • I have a mini vacation coming up! It calls for a slightly modified training schedule, but it’s worth it to spend time with people I love.

Goal for Next Week –

  • Run as planned. I have three runs to get in before I leave for vacation and I don’t want to miss one!
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Memphis Runners Track Club Road Race Series 5K #2

road race series 5K

Today was the second MRTC Road Race Series 5K!

Two weeks ago we kicked off the summer race series with the first 5K. You can read the recap here.

Race Logistics –

Once again, the race was well organized with corrals at the start divided by pace, volunteers throughout the course, well marked turns, two water stops staffed by very sweet supporters, and all kinds of snacks, water and Nuun at the finish line. I enjoyed running the same course a second time.

I think we had an even larger crowd this morning than last time, which is awesome! It’s great to see so many people of all ages getting together to race even in the heat and humidity of a Memphis summer. Everyone was kind and encouraging too, which is always great to see!

In terms of my performance, I mentioned a few times that I had a goal for this race to not take a single walk break. And to be honest with you — I absolutely did not accomplish that goal.

While I still found myself walking bits and pieces of the 3rd mile, I managed to come in almost half a minute faster than 5K #1. Not my best time ever, but I’m happy with it considering we spent much of the day outside eating and drinking with friends at a seafood boil on Saturday!

Race vs. Race –

Let’s compare these two races side by side:

road race series 5K 1 best paceroad race series 5K best pace

My overall average pace was much faster, and my best pace was a minute faster! I was surprised when I checked my watch during the first two miles to find myself running between 9:10 and 10:00 minute miles — it definitely felt like I was cruising along at at least a 11:00 mile pace. I knew I could build myself a pretty nice cushion so that I wouldn’t lose quite as much time if I walked during that last wickedly hot mile.

road race series 2 - Performance road race series 5K 1 - Performance

SPI is a pretty neat feature from Smashrun – “The Smashrun Performance Index (SPI) is a value derived from a performance curve to help you compare runs of similar effort across various distances.”

So I’m not 100% sure what’s going on here but compared to the last 90 days, today’s 5K was in my top 7% vs. 5K #1 which was in the top 20%.

road race series 5k Speed over Route

Smashrun RRS 5K

Finally, we have my change in speed over route. At first glance, this doesn’t seem to impressive, but this week’s run (top) settled nicely into the 9:30s for quite some time. I hovered around 10:30 pace for much of the first 5K, with a bit of a kick at the end. Today’s race saw a much longer, faster kick for the finish.

As a Smashrun Pro member, I have access to some awesome in-depth analytics. You can see some examples on the Smashrun Blog. I’m excited to learn more about my performance so that I can start putting all this data to good use!

What’s next?

The next race in the series is a 5 miler in Bartlett! I’ve never done a 5 mile race before, so this should be fun…and an automatic PR. My favorite kind!

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My Favorite Running Gear (Summer Edition)

My Favorite Running Gear

These days, it seems like everywhere I look someone is selling the latest and greatest running must-have accessory. And I know it’s hard to narrow your shopping list down to what’s crucial to have, what’s nice to have and what’s a waste of money.

Before I share my favorite running gear for the summer, you should know this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links I’ll receive a small cut of the proceeds from whatever you buy.

I have to confess that I’m a collector of gadgets, gizmos and snacks — so I hope this list is helpful!

favorite running gear

During the Run:

Watch:

Garmin Forerunner 220 – Purple + White

I upgraded from a Forerunner 10 in March and I LOVE IT.  The Forerunner 220 has every feature I need and collects all kinds of data. I love being able to customize my display screens, upload custom workouts from Garmin Connect, and sync using Bluetooth. The watch has a great walk/run feature, pace alerts and an internal accelerometer for treadmill/indoor running. I sync with Garmin Connect, Smashrun and Strava with no problems — and I love all of the data!

Shoes:

Nike Pegasus

I bought my first pair of Nike Pegasus more than 6 years ago, and I haven’t looked back. I’ve tried a few other types of shoes (Mizuno and Saucony), but haven’t been able to find quite the right pair from another brand. These are cushiony and relatively light.

Right now I’m wearing the Nike Pegasus 31s in Purple and previously I rocked a sweet pair of neon Pegasus 30s. The 31 saw a major redesign which led me to try Saucony, but eventually I found my way back to the Pegasus. The toe box is narrower in the 31 than the 30, so keep that in mind. I believe the Pegasus 32s are on their way out, so we’ll see what changes come with that.

I haven’t been swayed by another brand’s fit or function yet, but I’m always up to try new things! What’s your favorite shoe?

Apparel:

My favorite running tops are flowy tank tops from Old Navy or TJ Maxx. I don’t stick to one particular brand — I just like cute stuff! I have lots of purple in my closet right now. If you’re looking for cute, affordable work out clothes I recommend Old Navy, TJ Maxx and Target. They won’t last you forever, but you’ll get through the season in one piece!

I have yet to try brands like Oiselle or Lululemon, but they do come highly recommended (and loved) by many runners.

I recently purchased a Flipbelt and I love it! I upgraded my phone last year and the new one was too big to fit in my handheld water bottle or armband. I’ve spent the last year carrying it in my hand while running. Yep — I’ve run countless races, including a half marathon with an iPhone 6 in my left hand! Now I can just stick it in the Flipbelt along with whatever else (keys, gel, ID) and it doesn’t move or bounce or slide around.

Fuel:

I haven’t done a ton of experimentation in this area, but I do have a huge basket of gels in my running closet! As the weather cools down and my runs get longer again I’m looking forward to trying some new things. For now, I’ve been sticking with the classic Gu.

My two favorites so far:

Salted Caramel Gu  – Classic Starbucks-esque flavor.

Salted Watermelon Gu – Not as strange as it sounds, I promise! The flavor is subtle with only a hint of salt.

I lean toward dessert-type flavors rather than fruits — I think the taste holds up better in the summer. And I like to pretend I’m eating cake frosting or brownie batter rather than fruit flavored toothpaste.

Hydration:

Nathan Quickdraw Plus

Word of warning, this will not hold an iPhone 6. It will hold car keys, house keys, ID, and multiple gels. The nozzle is easy to drink from, open and close while on the run. The adjustable hand strap means you don’t feel like you have to hold or grip the bottle. It doesn’t bounce or slip, even when it gets sweaty. I’ve never had problems adjusting the strap or switching hands. I use this on nearly every long run!

Post-Run Recovery:

Foam Rollers:

 Trigger Point Performance GRID Foam Roller

This roller is INTENSE. Seriously, if you are new to foam rolling, I recommend you start with something simpler like this. This thing has brought me to tears, but it’s extremely helpful when dealing with ITB syndrome or tight muscles. The foam is dense and textured wrapped around a thick, hollow PVC pipe that won’t break down or lose shape over time.

Compression Socks:

PRO Compression

I have to be careful with the PRO Compression Marathon socks because I want to order a million more pairs! I love wearing them after long runs or during long car rides. Keep an eye out for coupons and sales — and they always have neat patterns and designs! I’ve never worn these while running, but I know people swear by them. I’m excited to try it out when things cool down.

 

So there you have it — a few of my favorite things for summer running! I shop all over the place — local running stores, TJ Maxx and Amazon. Am I missing any of your favorite running gear? What’s on your shopping list?

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5 Ways to Survive Your Summer Long Run

5 Ways to Survive Your Summer Long Run.png

Looking for some tips for your next summer long run?

Long runs are a key component of training for all runners. They have always been my favorite part of half-marathon training, but I’ll be the first to admit I struggle when it comes to the summer long run.  Running new distances is challenging, and when you throw in summer temperatures and humidity it can seem nearly impossible!

If you’re one of the lucky ones who thrives in the heat, this post may not be for you. But if you find yourself dreading your runs during July and August,  here are 5 tips to help you survive your summer long run!

1. Hydrate!

Let’s start out with a no-brainer. Staying hydrated is the most important thing!

Hydrating should start even before you lace up your shoes and head outside. Drinking extra water throughout the week will help ensure that you’re fully hydrated before you even start running. General rule of thumb is 8 glasses a day, and I find that 3-4 liters is an optimal amount for me.

Some people claim not to need any water on runs less than 10 miles, while others will bring water along for any distance. I usually bring water with me on every run in the summer in a handheld bottle.

I may not always drink it, but it’s nice to know I have something with me. It’s also refreshing to dump it over your head if you start to feel overheated (or just need a break).

If you’ll be on the road for over an hour, try freezing your bottle overnight first. There’s nothing worse than drinking warm water on a hot day! As the ice melts, the water will stay cold and help cool your core temperature as you drink.

Hydrating post-run is also incredibly important to help restore what you lost through sweating. I love drinking Nuun[LINK] after summer runs (let’s be real, I love drinking it all. The. Time.), especially when I make it into a slushie! (crushed ice, a little water and your favorite flavored Nuun tablet).

2. Run Early or Late

We’re still warming up with another common sense tip — run when it’s coolest!

This may mean waking up early or eating an early dinners so you can run in the evening after the sun sets, but it’s worth it for the cooler temperatures.

If you’re up before sunrise or head out after dark don’t forget your reflective gear! I have this Xinglet from Amphipod — in pink, of course — that I love. It’s comfortable enough that I forget I’m wearing it and more importantly, it’s extremely reflective.

3. Distract Yourself

When I run in silence during the summer, I find that my attention turns to talking myself into slowing down or cutting my run short.

Running with music or podcasts helps take my mind off the discomfort. If you’re looking for a new podcast I recommend 10 Junk Miles to entertain you, and Invisibila to make you smarter!

If you decide to run with headphones, please be careful and remain alert and aware of your surroundings. Keep your volume low or run with just one earbud in.

4. Bring a Friend

Having a friend with you can help push you both to a strong finish!

See if your local running store has group runs or a training club. Breakaway Running here in Memphis hosts training runs almost every day of the week, including long runs on Saturdays. They even set up water stops along the way!

Running with others is a great boost of encouragement and you can lean on each other to help get you through the hot summer long runs. It’s also a perfect excuse to grab brunch afterwards!

5. Jump on the Treadmill

I know, I know. Running outside is king, but sometimes it comes to down to running on the treadmill or not running at all. Does an hour and a half on the ‘mill sound impossible? Try splitting your long run between the treadmill and outdoors.

Bring a towel to cover the display, water and your fuel of choice, and some headphones if you want to zone out to whatever crap TV is playing at the gym.

If you’re a big data fan, you may even be able to use your Garmin to track your run — I know my Forerunner 220 works just fine after a few settings adjustments  when I’m on the treadmill.

How do you survive your summer long runs?

So there you have it! These are just 5 of many, many ways to survive running in the summer. What am I missing? How do you get yourself through hot, humid, sweaty running in the summer?

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Training Summary – July 13-19

Training Summary July

It’s time for a quick training summary check-in! I’m almost embarrassed to post this because my milage was so low for the week, but what’s the point of blogging if you’re not honest?

Week of: July 13 – July 19

Goal:

As I mentioned last week, I hoped to get in a run or two during my trip. Success! I still haven’t nailed down an official training schedule, so until I figure that out I expect my runs will be all over the place. As the MRTC Road Race Series continues, I know I’ll fall into something more consistent.

Monday –

  • No miles, but I did the Myrtl Routine. As I transition from Galloway’s run/walk intervals to steady state running, hip strength is super important. This routine takes me less than 10 minutes. Try it!

Tuesday –

  • 2 miles @ 10:28 average pace
  • Super tight calves, had to stop and stretch them out!

Wednesday –

  • No miles, but did my Myrtl routine again!

Thursday –

  • 1 mile @ 9:35 pace
  • My day started with a 4:30 AM wake up call, included two flights, a 45-minute Uber ride, and ended at the Terranea in Rancho Palos Verdes
  • This was the prettiest run I’ve ever had! See more here.
  • According to Smashrun this was my first run in California, fastest 1mi in a year, fastest mile split in 3 months, hardest hills in a month and coolest run in a month.

Friday –

  • 1 mile @ 10:38 pace
  • One more run in Rancho Palos Verdes. I wish I had gone further, but I forgot sunscreen. Ran back to my room and applied some before I went on a hike around the resort.
  • Smashrun claims this run included my hardest hills ever — I’d agree! I wish we had hills like this in Memphis, they’d be awesome for training.

Saturday & Sunday –

  • Saturday had another early morning flight, a quick layover and a dinner of fried chicken and the best paletas in Memphis.
  • Slept in on Sunday and it was nearly 90 degrees when I woke up just before 9.

Total Distance –

4 miles. Yikes!

Up Next –

  • Next weekend we have the second MRTC Road Race Series 5K! I have one goal for that race: Do. Not. Stop.
  • It’s time I write down and finalize my Road Race Series training plan, which I plan to have done before the end of the week!
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California Running

I was lucky to spend a few days in Southern California for a conference last week. While my schedule was full and the trip was short, I managed to squeeze in two (very short!) runs during our stay. I just couldn’t pass up the view — or the gorgeous weather!

California Trails

Hello beautiful trails!

I lived in Los Angeles for a few years when I was a teenager, and this trip reminded me just how much I miss California. The weather is perfect in the summer and the scenery is just beautiful. I could do without the threat of massive earthquakes, but we have that in Memphis too.

Though I planned on taking it easy because my hips feel incredibly tight right now, I ended up running my fastest mile since I got my new Forerunner 220! Thank you mid-70s and low humidity!

Fastest Mile in California

Smashrun let me know this run was my fastest 1mi in a year, hardest hills in a month and the coolest run in a month.

My second run of the trip was just as short, but a little more challenging as I found myself climbing some steep hills. (According to Smashrun, these were the hardest hills I’ve ever tackled.)

Totally worth it to enjoy views like this the whole time!

Sea California

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Weekly Running Recap

IMG_5321

Week of: July 6 – 12.

Goal: ??

I didn’t have anything in particular in mind, other than getting out there. I’ve been thinking that I’m not ‘in training’, but I guess now that the Road Race Series has started, I have two half marathons to get ready for! They’ll be here before I know it.

More to come on that front!

Monday

  • 2 miles @ 10:32 pace
  • Easing back into it after a rough weekend of being sick (and it being the 4th of July). I’m having a tough time mentally not walking, but running without watching my pace is helping.

Tuesday – Nada

Wednesday

  •  2 miles @ 10:41 pace
  • Planned out a new 4 mile route to play catchup, but ended up feeling ill partway through. I walked the rest of the way home.

Thursday – Nothing

Friday – Nope!

Saturday – ‘Long’ Run

  • 4 miles @ 10:43 pace
  • This run was HOT. I stopped (and paused my watch) a few times and took some walk breaks during the last 2 miles. I keep hoping my body will adapt to the heat. I’m sure it has, but it can be hard to feel the difference.
  • Listened to something for the first time in over a year! I’ve been running headphone-free for such a long time, but it was nice to have a bit of a distraction.

Sunday – Race Day!

  • MRTC Road Race Series 5k #1 @ 10:53 pace
  • Read the recap here.
  • Tried out my new Flipbelt. Finally, something that fits my phone! I used to store it in my Nathan Quickdraw, but when I upgraded to the iPhone 6 I no longer had anything to stash it in. I ran the Little Rock Half Marathon with my phone in my hand! So nice not to worry about it today.
  • FYI for 5K #2: ALL of mile 3 is in direct sun. Plan accordingly!

Total Distance: 11.13 miles

Up Next:

  • I’ll be traveling for work part of this week but I hope to get a run or two in while I’m gone. I’ll have some gorgeous scenery that I can’t wait to explore on foot!
  • MRTC RRS 5K #2 is coming up on July 26!

*Just so you know, this post contains two Amazon affiliate links, which means if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small cut of the proceeds from whatever you buy.

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Memphis Runners Track Club Road Race Series 5K #1

Yesterday morning we rolled out of bed before 6 AM and headed out for the first 5K of the MRTC Road Race Series. It was 79 degrees by the time we started, and super humid!

The course for the Road Race Series 5K is pretty simple — fast with a few rolling hills in the beginning.

I didn’t have any specific pacing goals or strategy in mind for the race. I had done 4 miles the day before and could feel it in my legs. I’m not used to running multiple days in a row yet!

Smashrun RRS 5K

As you can see — the wheels fell off during the last mile. At first I said I’d only walk through water stops. But as we rounded the corner I realized we were about to be in direct sun for the entire mile. I could feel the energy of everyone around me change. I think we all slowed down together!

I knew it would be a hot run, but I wasn’t mentally prepared to push myself like I should have been. I’m great at making deals with myself during training runs (and races). Unfortunately, I’m also great at breaking deals with myself! I didn’t want to walk, but I ended up taking a few breaks to pour water under my hat and regroup.

Other than the expected summer running challenges, this was a great race! There was an awesome turnout and MRTC made the decision to use corrals. I loved this! (And I wish this had been in place for the M-Town series, which has huge 5ks with crazy mass starts.)

There were 2 water stops along the course. Water, fruit and cookies were available at the finish. Packet pickup is available race day. Since I registered ahead of time, my reusable chip and bib were mailed right to the house — easy!

My goal for RRS 5K #2 –

Do. Not. Stop. Running.

I have a really embarrassing but true confession: I don’t think I’ve ever run an entire 5k without walking. During training I can run 3.1 miles with no problem, but for some reason I get in my head every time I race. Next week? I won’t stop. Hold me to it!

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Memphis Runners Track Club Road Race Series

Memphis Runners Road Race Series

I needed some extra motivation to get me through summer especially since I don’t have a fall race in mind at the moment, so I signed up for the Memphis Runners Track Club Road Race Series!

Running in the summer is tough. Running in the Memphis heat and humidity is downright brutal.

When I started running last year, the bulk of my training for my first half marathon took place during the summer. I figured this year would be about the same — hot but not unbearable. Sweaty but no big deal.

I ran into ITB issues partway through training last summer, which led to days off and lower mileage mid-June through August aka the hottest parts of summer. I’m not sure if I blocked out last year’s weather or what, because this is HARD!

I first heard about the Road Race Series when I moved to Memphis a few years ago, but it wasn’t until a few other friends registered that I gave it any real thought. Never considered I was a ‘serious’ enough runner to join in, but here I am!

The series includes 10 races and runs from July through November and includes a bunch of distances: 5k, 5 miler, 10K, 10 miler and the half marathon. Crazy, right? I can’t wait!

It’s pretty no-frills, you won’t get a shirt or medal at every race but runners who complete all 10 races unlock ‘Road Warrior’ status (which also gets you one of those 74.8 stickers everybody loves) and series finishers get some goodies too.

I’m not sure if you can still register for the rest of the series but you can still register for the races individually.

We ran the first 5k of the series this morning — It was hot and humid and awesome to see so many runners! I’ll share more details soon.

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How To Eat a Cupcake

It’s true, when I’m not running you might find me in the kitchen whipping up a batch of mini cupcakes or trying out a new cake recipe (mint chocolate chip, anyone?).

We all know how to eat a cupcake — or do we? I’ve been eating them this way for years, but apparently it’s not that common! There’s nothing better than a cupcake sandwich, honestly. You get the perfect ratio of frosting to cake and it’s nowhere near as messy.

Step 1: Acquire Cupcake
How to eat a cupcake | NatalieTate.com

Step 2: Bottom to Top 

How to eat a cupcake | NatalieTate.com

Enjoy!

Seriously, it’s as easy as that! You’re looking at one of my favorites, by the way. These are (were) chocolate cupcakes with fresh raspberry Swiss meringue buttercream.

 

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