Running, Eating and Life: What I'm Looking Forward to This Fall

After a week of summer weather coming back, it’s looking like fall is back in Minnesota and hopefully staying! Fall is probably one of my favorite seasons so I’m hoping it stays around for a little bit so I get to enjoy it. And the reason it’s one of my favorite seasons? Let’s dive into what I love about fall.

Fall Running

20180908_084335.jpg

Yes, I’ve already done a whole post about why I love fall running. In short, ideal running weather, fall colors and running anniversaries! I cannot wait to run on some trails and see how gorgeous they are in the fall.

Leaves

20171023_102526.jpg

Even last week, the trees were starting to change colors and I am loving it. Minnesota gets so vibrant and bright in the fall, which makes it so pretty. And it kind of makes up for the shorter days and rainy weather when the trees are so gorgeous. Although when they start to fall off, it’s sad again since I know winter is coming.

Everything Pumpkin/Apple

20180908_142318.jpg

Fall flavors are some of my favorite things, especially pumpkin and apple. I’ve been on a pumpkin kick with what I’m pumpkin (pumpkin oatmeal and soon to come pumpkin muffins and maybe pumpkin protein bowl) but I’m just waiting for the apple harvest to come in so we get delicious, cheap, local apples. I love Minnesota apples and buying Honeycrisp and SweeTango apples (and hopefully in the next couple of years, First Kiss) is a fall highlight.

Handknit Sweaters

20180906_065753.jpg

I’ve been waiting all summer to pull out my handknit sweaters again! I even finished a sweater over the summer and pulled it out on the first cool-ish day of September. My handknit sweaters (and socks and shawls and hats) are so comfy and it’s just a confidence boost to be wearing something I’ve made. Plus I’ve got another cardigan I’m excited to be working on!

What are your favorite parts of fall? Let me know in the comments!


Running, Eating and Life_ What I'm Looking Forward to This Fall Pinterst.jpg

Training Tips Tuesday #37: Pushing the Edges of Comfort

After running my weekday runs last week under a 10 minute pace, and it feeling pretty easy, I’m feeling like I need to start pushing the edges of what’s comfortable with my easy runs. I feel like I have recovered from marathon training and my body is ready to make some more progress even though I’m not training for a race.

And it makes sense that, even though last week I was running in 80 degree weather, sub-10 minute miles felt easy because the entire summer I was basically doing base building without even realizing it. I had consistent workouts for at least 10 weeks before I added in some speedwork and even after I added in speedwork, my easy runs were still very easy feeling. My body felt decreasingly sore after runs during the summer and I can tell my form has improved.

Since I’m not training for a race, it’s a little bit harder to push myself because I don’t have a specific goal in mind for my runs. But now I’m thinking about increasing my weekday non-speedworks to four miles and maybe doing a 10 mile long run every once in a while. I’m hoping to still keep up a faster pace on these runs so I continue to see improvement in my running.

This change also means I need to pay more attention to how I’m recovering and how I’m feeling after runs. It means I might need to take some cutback weeks to keep seeing improvements. And it will mean after 10-12 weeks of working harder, I’ll take a step back and do some base building again (or there might be some life changes that cause this to happen sooner). Either way, I’m excited to start pushing my run for the first time without training for a race. Since I’ve been doing basically back to back race training for so long, I don’t feel like I’ve really seen this much improvement in my pace in such a short amount of time!


Training Tips Tuesday 37 Pushing the Edges of Comfort Pinterest.jpg

Weekly Running Report: September 10-16

I started off this week really excited to be training and see the heart rate feedback from Strava and start doing some more analysis. But by the time I got to Friday, I was excited just to see how much faster I’m running this week even with the heat. Let’s get into it!

Monday, September 10

I rocked my strength training and spin class tonight! Both were tough (plus I did a new workout on the NTC app) but I felt great afterward. In need of carbs (thankfully Mike had a protein smoothie waiting for me at home), but great.

I was surprised looking at my heart rate data afterwards that my heart rate didn’t get as high as I felt it did but it’s probably really good for me to get in some moderate heart rate cardio in during the week.


Tuesday, September 11

3.1 miles ~ 30:03 ~ 9:42 min/mile

20180911_165714.jpg

Even with the temperature being in the low 80s and my legs/glutes being so sore from yesterday's workouts, I feel like this was pretty awesome tempo run. The speed up section could have been a little bit better but again, heat and soreness made it tougher than usual. I need to get in some foam rolling post-strength training and not just rely on stretching.

Wednesday, September 12

3 miles ~ 29:16 ~ 9:44 min/mile

Well, I wasn't expecting a sub-10 minute pace or the fact that it wouldn't feel that hard. But that happened! I was still feeling soreness from Monday’s workouts but I just went by what felt good in my legs.

Thursday, September 13

3 miles ~ 29:54 ~ 9:56 min/mile

20180913_165428.jpg

Another speedy run to close out the week! Even though it was 84, this pace didn't feel that hard. However, looking back at my heart rate data, I was pushing harder on this run than on Wednesday’s even though I had a slower average pace.

I can't wait to see how it feels once we get into the 50s!

Friday, September 14

Since I’d been running hard most of the week and did a new strength training workout on Monday, I picked a 20 minute yoga for tight legs video to do after work. Other than that video, I took it easy and just tried to get in my 12,500 steps to make it a nice recovery day.

Saturday, September 15

5 miles ~ 47:22 ~ 9:27 min/mile

I was feeling good Saturday morning and started off the run with a quick first mile (9:00). I decided to pull back a little bit but wanted to find out if I could hold a faster pace for these five miles after running fast all week. My splits were up and down (with my slowest being a 10:02 minute mile) but it averaged out to a 9:27 average pace.

It’s just amazing that even with the heat and humidity, I’m running faster all of a sudden. And I’m thinking part of that is just my mental state around my running now that I’m not racing (more of this to come in this week’s Training Tip Tuesday).

Sunday, September 16

8 miles ~ 1:20:03 ~ 9:59 min/mile

Another run of trying to push my comfort zone and run a little bit faster. This run felt so good, I explored new places and saw lots of dogs! All of my miles were around 9:50-10 minute pace, with the two other ones being around 10:15. And my heart rate data proved that I was working hard, I spent 50 minutes of this run in zone 3 (tempo) and the rest in zone 2 (moderate) but not so hard that I was pushing myself into race pace effort for the distance.

Weekly Effort Summary from Strava

Since is the first week I have heart rate data for my cross-training workouts (weights and spin class), I’m not sure how much it compares to past weeks for weekly effort. But it is showing that I worked harder than past weeks (which my paces show) and I’ve ramped up my effort this week. Even if this isn’t exactly true if I had more heart rate data for past weeks, I will be paying attention to my body this week and doing some extra recovery if needed.

I already did some extra recovery to finish off this week with my monthly massage on Sunday. My right side was feeling a bit off, especially my trapezius muscle on that side, so it felt good to get some extra attention paid to that. So we’ll see how I feel in the upcoming week and add in extra stretching or slow down on my runs as needed!


Weekly Running Report_ September 10-16 Pinterest.jpg

Three Ways Daily Meditation Has Improved My Life

I’ve been meditating daily since January 1st and the longer I keep on my streak, the more benefits I am finding from it. In the over 255 days I’ve been meditating, here are the three biggest benefits I have seen.

Increased Focus

I can tell that it’s a lot easier for me to stay focused on a single task now than at the beginning of the year and I’m not letting random thoughts distract me from what I am doing. I’m more likely to acknowledge them (and if it’s a task I need to do, add it to my to-do list) than to switch what I’m doing to whatever thought just came into my mind.

I know for sure that daily meditation has caused this change since you focus on clearing your mind for the time you meditate. At first, it was hard to keep my thoughts from taking over while I meditated but slowly, it’s been getting easier to let them just float past. And I’m finding this to be easier to do outside of meditation as well!


Better Sleep

In the last couple of months, I’ve changed up my nighttime routine (which I’ll detail in an upcoming post) and part of that was moving my meditation time from first thing in the morning to right before bed. Not only do I feel less rushed in the morning but it’s helped me get to sleep faster and have better sleep. I no longer have a million things running through my head as I try to go to sleep and I’m not waking up in the middle of the night. And if I do, I get back to sleep pretty quickly (within 10 minutes or less based on my Garmin’s sleep tracking).

Reduced Anxiety

Continuing the theme, doing a daily clearing of my thoughts has also helped reduce my anxiety during the day and has given me some coping skills to deal with things that make me anxious. We’re working on some major life changes and, of course, this doesn’t help with my anxiety. But I’m working on not burying myself in my thoughts and taking the time to breathe when I start feeling the anxiety coming on.


Three Ways Daily Meditation Has Improved My Life Pinterest 2.jpg

The Four Stretches I Always Do After a Long Run

I’ll be the first to admit that I am the worst about stretching after a run. I might get in one or two stretches but my go-to is always just a quick foam roll. Lately, I’ve been trying to be more conscious about my stretching after long runs to get myself into a routine. Here are the four stretches I’ve been after my long runs (plus I’ve been getting better about doing them after some of my other runs too)!

Pigeon Pose

20180913_173512.jpg
  • Begin in a tabletop position (hands and knees on the mat)

  • Bring your right leg forward and sink down so the outer edge is resting on the floor.

  • Extend your left leg behind you, keeping your hips angling toward the floor.

  • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then step your right foot back under you and repeat on the left leg.

Butterfly Stretch

20180913_173553.jpg
  • Sit tall on the floor with the soles of your feet together, knees bent out to sides.

  • Hold onto your ankles or feet, engage your abs, and slowly lower your body toward your feet as far as you can while pressing your knees toward the floor.

  • If you're too tight to bend over, simply press your knees down.

  • Hold this stretch for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

Downward Facing Dog

  • Start on your hands and knees in tabletop. Align your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.

  • Tuck your toes under, press into the hands and lift your hips to the ceiling.

  • Using straight (but not locked) arms, press your hips up and back reaching the chest towards your thighs. Lift up through the tailbone to keep the spine straight and long.

Piriformis Stretch

20180913_173619.jpg
  • Sit on the floor with both legs extended in front of you.

  • Cross your right leg over your left, and place your right foot flat on the floor.

  • Place your right hand on the floor behind your body.

  • Place your left hand on your right quad or your left elbow on your right knee and twist your torso to the right.

  • Repeat for the other side


The Four Stretches I Always Do After a Long Run Pinterest.jpg