Approaching Training With A Beginner’s Mindset

When I began training almost a month ago (holy moly was it that long ago?!) I wanted things to be different.

 

Each time I begin a new training cycle, I do feel as if I am a more experienced runner, meaning I will hopefully not make as many mistakes.

Rotate your shoes

Do some core and mobility work

Cross train

Things like that I add to my arsenal of injury prevention that keeps me running strong.

On the flip side, starting a new training cycle must be met with a beginner mindset in a few ways. I cannot start training at 50 miles a week, even if I used to be able to do that easily in my last cycle. After taking time off, my body is in full recovery mode. I am unfit, my heart hasn’t worked that hard and neither have my legs. Even if you don’t pull something or get an overuse injury, overworking the internal systems of the body is just as bad.

For me, mental burnout occurs much faster with sympathetic nervous system fatigue than muscle fatigue. Therefore, I must build up slowly, training my brain as I go.

It all comes back quickly, each cycle I get up to larger mileage faster and am able to put in more work, but every single time, I start at ground zero.

Very easy jogging, walk-run intervals, no time or mileage goal, always keeping mobility work after each run.

I get a lot of questions, especially on my last post about how I run 78 miles in a week.

This is how I built up to it. Start training as a beginner, and work up to it.

And always run happy!

Cut Back Weeks and Green-Eyed Monsters

The first three weeks of training are in the books. I progressively added mileage each week and had some good workouts.

I’d have to say, hill repeats are the hardest thing I do. It’s mentally taxing because the effort increases, but the speed either stays the same or decreases. I am always both humbled and exhilarated after a hill workout.

My past week or running topped at 78 miles. That is a lot for me personally. Many other ultrarunners get into the triple digit miles during peak training. My mileage will not exceed 100, or even close really, during this training.

I want to process the beginning of the week, because I hit a low point mentally on Monday. I was still feeling a bit down about my almost bonk on Friday, so my emotions were fragile and doubting my fitness. Then I got news about a friend’s AMAZING marathon in which she crushed her previous PR. I was very happy for her, but then the green-eyed monster hit me pretty hard.

I have run races very close to this person last year. We have trained together. She is an amazing runner and works very hard. She deserved this.

I began to doubt myself and subsequently fall into a depressed mood. Thoughts about my season and what I was doing challenged what I know about myself.

Thoughts like:

“What if I focused on marathon training in the past season? I could be that fast now!”

“What am I doing wrong?! Why am I not as fast?”

“I feel so slow, I almost bonked on a run that wasn’t even that long.”

Silly, self-centered and ableist thoughts caused me to retreat into myself and be sad. That’s it really, I was just sad.

Jealousy really sucks.

I felt the feelings all day, but my mom was with me all day keeping my mind occupied. I didn’t sleep that well, but woke up feeling a bit better.

New thoughts surfaced that morning:

“I love ultra training and am happy doing this.”

“I am only in my third week of training, I will get better.”

“At the end of the day, I run because it makes me happy, not because I am better than someone else.”

“I am really happy for this person!”

I didn’t feel like I forced these things, but reminded myself that this is the truth.

I also hit my workout that morning, which made me really happy 🙂

The rest of the week went smoothly, although I was a bit scared curious about two 18 mile runs, I took each day at a time. I had no fitness issues, just a few other things I am sorting out and have already begun to get better.

Looking forward to a cut-back week! #runchat @runningblogs Click To Tweet

This week my mileage is cut in half and I’ll recover for the next segment.

See you out there!

 

Sputtering Out

Running longer miles is something my body needs to adjust to with every training cycle. When it’s not used to that stress, it does funny things.

Case in point, my long progression run last Saturday. This was my first longer effort that included some faster tempo miles. I tried to shoot for the moon, and I missed.

I warmed up for about 3 miles, and then settled into a tempo pace I figured I could hold for 10 miles and then cool down for the last 3, making it a 16 mile day.

Well, my body was not ready for it, and after 6 tempo miles, I threw in the towel, slowed down a bit and finished in some minor uncomfort and dehydration.

What happened? Well, running at tempo is something that is uncomfortable, but still safe. I figured I would be able to “grit” it out for 10 miles. Just keep going. My body had other plans. I think the run was also on fatigued legs because I had to move some runs around this week to accommodate for days off. I like to run long on days off, which meant I did this run the day after 10 miles.

I also forgot my water bottle (something I do frequently) and my digestive system started to freak out at the end. I felt a bit crampy and gaseous and at mile 10.5 I stopped to go to the bathroom. I also brought my water bottle back to the mill with me, so the rest of the run was ok.

However, it’s hard to come back from overdoing it, at least that quickly.

This run still had some benefit in getting more used to longer runs with faster miles in them.

I was simply over ambitious and will be smarter next time.

This is my last week of higher mileage, and next week will be a lot lighter and recovery focused.

Went out too fast, died a bit, but finished with a solid effort #ultratraining #running @runningblogs Click To Tweet

Goals for the week: try not to get overwhelmed, take each day, each run, at a time.

Sleep Like an Athlete

I love sleep. Seriously, we go way back. One of the most stressful things I deal with is not getting enough sleep. You know, when you went to bed early, and lie awake for 5 hours mind going a mile a minute and not resting.

That sucks.

I kind of wish my legs could run like my mind, but I’ll have to wait for science to figure out how to do that.

This type of stress is not only bad for recovery, but sleep is crucial to get the most from your training. Sleeping is when the work actually gets done. The muscles build, the mind and body work behind the scenes to make you a better athlete.

That said, take a nap or two people, you’re not lazy! You’re training!

I wanted to share some sleep tips for athletes that was created by Casper, the sleep start up company. I have heard them mentioned on the Rich Roll podcast and if Mr. Roll himself is a fan, I respect him enough to check them out and encourage you to as well. Their ‘Sleep Like A Champion’ guide includes great information, so I thought I’d share it with you and include some of my own tips for getting a good night’s sleep.

Casper asked me what I do to ensure I recover like an athlete. I was not paid to write this post, but thankful for the infographic they had provided. If interested in more information about Casper and their mattresses, visit their site. Now, the following list is what I do to help me perform my best not only on my runs, but also at my busy job:

1.) Go to bed early, even if I don’t fall asleep right away

I have found that there is something relaxing just laying in the dark, on my bed, warm in silence. Sometimes is does take me a while to fall asleep, but just being in a horizontal position in THE DARK is helpful to get your body to rest.

2.) Work on my hip mobility

After every run, I do drills. This takes little time and I would gladly sacrifice extra time scrolling through social media or my email over breakfast than skipping these.

3.) Cross-train (instead of running more)

I am not at the point where I can run too high mileage. I’m still relatively young in the sport. However, I do think that double sessions a few times a week are beneficial. Biking, strength work or mobility drills are some things I do instead of extra miles that keep me happy and healthy

4.) Do something for pleasure

For me, that’s reading a book. I love my fiction novels or a good endurance book (a story, not a “how-to” guide, or biography). I honestly look forward to sitting in my chair and reading before dinner. At other points in my life, it’s been watching Scandal, tanning outside or talking on the phone. Do something everyday that gives you pure joy. Running does that for me as well, but since I am training, I do not include that because it is a stress on the body. Just have something else in your life that makes you smile.

 

 For more information about Casper and their mattresses, visit Casper.com

My Favorite Cheese Sauce

When I went vegan, I really didn’t miss cheese that much. Honestly, the last thing to go for me was yogurt and I sort of just stopped buying it. Same with cheese, I ate what I had (I don’t waste) and then just stopped giving the dairy industry my money (directly, indirectly I guess by being American I still do, but I digress)

Anyway, I do enjoy vegan cheese when it is offered. When I’m out at restaurants, with friends or if someone offers me some, I won’t say no.

Let’s get real though, vegan cheese can get expensive. It also has a lot of ingredients I don’t recognize. I love processed food as much as anyone, but being an athlete and taking my health into consideration, I probably shouldn’t indulge too often.

Lucky for me, I came across tons of cheese sauce recipes that have made plant based eating easy when I do want some of that hearty yellow goodness. After making them for a while, I started to experiment with making my own.

I wanted something with a bit of tang, not too much kick and holds onto whatever I choose to put it on. I also wanted something more “single-person” sized. I don’t need a gallon of cheese sauce, no matter how good it is, I will get tired of it.

This recipe makes 1.5-2 cups worth depending on the size of your veggies. It is customizable depending on what spices you like or what veggies you have.

For the health nerd in me, ALL THE INGREDIENTS ARE RECOGNIZABLE!

Simple ingredients make this #vegan cheese sauce AMAZING! #whatveganseat #meatlessmonday Click To Tweet

Make this sauce and enjoy!

Epic Vegan Cheese Sauce

From at

Prep: Cook: Yield: 1.5 cupsTotal:

You'll Need...

  • 1 medium potato (approx. 1 cup) cubed
  • 5 baby carrots (or 1/2 carrot diced)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t onion powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • 1 t tumeric
  • 2 t mustard (optional)

Directions

  1. In a small pot of water, bring the potatoes and carrots to a boil. Cook until tender (about 10 minutes). Drain and pour into a food processor or blender. Add all the other ingredients into the blender and process until smooth. Serve immediately or store in the fridge up to a week.

Note: Instead of using a carrot and a potato, you might also use butternut squash or pumpkin. 1 cup of each is a good substitute. Adjust your seasonings according to your preference.

I am linking up for Meatless Mondays with Running On Happy and The Fit Foodie Mama