More Shape Half Marathon

If you live and run in NYC you know how daunting running loops in Central Park can be. If you have ever trained for a marathon or 8 while living in NYC, you’ve most likely ran more Central Park loops than you ever thought was humanly possible. Therefore, running said loop for the one millionth time can make it feel as boring as running on a treadmill.

For those of you who don’t live in NYC, it probably sounds ridiculous to hear someone complain about running in Central Park. And you are correct, it is kinda ridiculous, but it is what it is. I like to complain about it, but I do love it deep down.

The main six-mile loop in Central Park is made up of rolling hills. When running counterclockwise, the loop has 5 main hills. There’s Cat Hill, Harlem Hill and the Three Sisters. When a half marathon takes place in Central Park and runs counterclockwise this means running 10 hills. This does not include all the little roller hills.

For half marathons in the park, it also means running the lower loop of the park three times! Like any race (or really any task in life), how we frame what we are about to do can determine the outcome.

I was eager to put my best brain training into action for this race. It was the muscle most trained for this 13.1 mile endeavor. My legs and lungs are a little bit behind at this point as I was only week five of Brooklyn Half training.

More Shape Half Marathon 2016

My action plan was to make a mental check-list of how many hills I had to run, focus on getting up one at a time then enjoy the sections in-between the main hills. I spent a few minutes the week before the race visualizing running up each hill relaxed and with a positive attitude. I also visualized recovering between hills and not feeling frustrated by the monotony of running what might have been my one-billionth Central Park loop.

And it worked.

I ran each hill as it came and checked it off my mental to-do list. I enjoyed the other sections of the race and had a great time. I don’t look at my watch much while racing, so I was surprised when I saw the ten mile marker so soon.

Of all the times I’ve ran this race, this was by far my favorite experience.

Race Splits:

  • Mile 1: 8:24
  • Mile 2: 7:41 <— I don’t know what happened here!
  • Mile 3: 8:28
  • Mile 4: 8:33
  • Mile 5: 8:29
  • Mile 6: 8:25
  • Mile 7: 8:21
  • Mile 8: 8:35
  • Mile 9: 8:27
  • Mile 10: 8:25
  • Mile 11: 8:00
  • Mile 12: 7:54
  • Mile 13: 7:51
  • Last .4: 7:10 <— Really gotta work on running the tangents!
  • Total time: 1:50:28 Average Pace: 8:26

It’s interesting to see where I took water breaks. Those miles are about 10 seconds slower than the others. I plan on drinking and running at the Brooklyn Half instead of stopping completely.

I managed to execute a perfect negative split and pretty consistent splits despite the rolling hills. I am excited to keep working towards running a smart race in Brooklyn next month. Between now and then I need to work on running the tangents in addition to increasing my endurance.

I may not be in PR shape in four more weeks, but I should be able to run a faster pace in Brooklyn than I did last year.


Short Running Workouts

More, more, more! It’s cliché to say we live in a world where more is perceived as better. Run more miles to get faster! Foam roll more often to prevent injures! Strength train more frequently to get stronger! Eat more green veggies!

What do you do when you don’t have more time to run? Here are solutions to fitting in three different key training workouts when time is limited.

Problem: You only have 30 minutes to run and you can’t make it to the track for speed work.
Solution: Speed Bursts
Run for 15 minutes at an easy pace. Then alternate running 15 seconds fast with 45 seconds slow. Do this five times. End the workout by running for 10 minutes at an easy pace.

Problem: You don’t have enough time to increase the distance of your weekly long run due to family or work obligations.
Solution: Fast Finish
Run the same distance you ran last week, but run the last mile or ½ mile at tempo effort or what feels like 10k race pace.

Problem: You don’t have enough time to wait for your GPS to catch a satellite before your tempo run.
Solution: Out and Back
Run in one direction for a set amount of time. When your time is up, turn around and run the same route in the opposite direction but try to make it back to your starting point in a shorter amount of time.

This article first appeared on Women’s Running. Check out my weekly blog posts here.


Indoor Cycling

The indoor cycling craze seems to be here to stay. Classes are packed and most gyms have spin bikes available to use for independent workouts outside the cycling studio. These non-impact cardio-focused workouts can compliment your running and maybe even increase your fitness level.

Knowing how to incorporate indoor cycling into your training schedule isn’t always clear. Work too hard in class and you might ruin the next day’s training run. Spend too much time on the bike and you may not get in enough miles to support your running goals.

Here are the best ways to incorporate one weekly indoor cycling class into your training schedule:

1. As recovery after a hard workout: Give yourself just enough resistance on the bike that you feel in control of the pedals while spinning out the legs. You’ll want to focus on keeping the effort level low to moderate to facilitate recovery.

2. To improve cardiovascular fitness after taking time off from running: You’ll most likely be able to keep the intensity higher for longer periods of time while on the bike than you can while running. Work hard on the bike using both climbing and sprint intervals with periods of recovery between hard efforts. A typical indoor cycling class is great for this.

3. To replace one running workout with a non-impact workout: Riding out of the saddle correlates more to running fitness than riding in the saddle does. If you want your indoor-cycling workout to replace one of your weekly runs, you’ll have to spend as much time out of the saddle as possible while on the bike.

This article first appeared on Women’s Running. Check out my other posts for Women’s Running here.

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