RnR Savannah / St. Jude Half Marathon Training: Weeks 3-5

Consistency hasn’t been the forte of my last few weeks. I’ve battled SI joint pain of varying intensity, tough work weeks, and illness. I’m doing my best to adapt to the situation and hoping things will return to normal soon.

This recap includes three weeks, because I’ll be honest, blogging is the first thing to go when life gets a little crazier than normal.

Week 3: 22 miles

Monday, 8/3

  • Plan: Rest
  • Actual: Rest

Tuesday, 8/4

  • Plan: 6 miles w/ 8 x 1:00 @ 10k pace; 2:00 rest; core; strength training
  • Actual: 4 miles @ 9:46/mile; 2 sets of 20 kettlebell swings; Myrtl routine

I felt like I was coming down with a cold, so I decided to put off the harder workout and push forward an easier day. Since I was also skipping my planned strength training, I got in a couple sets of kettlebell swings after my run. I felt a little unstable doing swings in my Hoka Cliftons (I typically wear a more minimal shoe for this kind of activity). In the evening, a pain I’d been having in my lower back really seized up. To the touch, I had a knot the size of a lima bean. I curse myself for swinging in max-cushion shoes.

Wednesday, 8/5

  • Plan: 6 miles w/ 8 x 1:00 @ 10k pace; 2:00 rest; core; strength training
  • Actual: rest and corrective massage

All day, my back just felt like owwwwwww, even just walking or sitting. I got a last minute massage appointment, with fingers crossed that the therapist could unlock whatever had seized up in my low back.

I learned from the therapist that my SI joint was the source of this pain. The issues with my SI joint had further underlying causes, including tight spots in my adductors and obliques. The massage helped release these spots and took the edge off the pain coming from my SI joint. The therapist also gave me some homework: glute activation exercises (proving I’m still a work in process), and spots to self-massage.

Thursday, 8/6

  • Plan: 5 miles; strength training
  • Actual: 6 miles w/ 8 x 1:00 @ 10k pace; 2:00 rest; strength training

I finally got the workout in! It started out pretty easy and ended up tough but doable. Pacing was pretty consistent among the one-minute repeats, between 8:20-8:30 pace. I’m pleased with it, since pacing shorter workouts hasn’t been easy for me in the past.

In the gym that evening, I was nervous to re-aggravate my SI joint so I didn’t go a full 100% effort. It was a good day: squats, pistols, TRX rows, assisted pull-ups, weighted lunges, hanging leg raises, and one arm kettlebell swings.

Friday, 8/7

  • Plan: rest
  • Actual: 3 mile recovery run

Had I done the fartlek workout Tuesday, I would have done this recovery run on Wednesday, so I decided to plug it in on my Friday rest day for a little active recovery.

Saturday, 8/8

  • Plan: 9 miles; core
  • Actual: 9 miles @ 9:15/mile; core

I met up with Jessica for a group run with MARC. I enjoyed the group atmosphere, met a lot of nice people, and had a good run. I kept trying to slow myself down to a 9:30+ pace in accordance with the training plan, but I ran faster than prescribed while still feeling comfortable on the run. I’m not going to read into it; I think it was just a day when I felt really good. I’ll take it.

Sunday, 8/9

  • Plan: 3 mile recovery run
  • Actual: Travel, dinner, and rest

I packed up for another week in Boston. My flight was delayed 30 minutes at the time of departure, made up the delay time in the air, then we were delayed nearly an hour on the ground in Boston waiting for a gate.

My view for an extended length of time.

I’d planned to do my 3 mile recovery run before dinner, but with the delay, my hunger, and my unquenched desire for Neptune Oyster House, I opted to go straight for dinner. It’s gotten so hard to get in Neptune that I specifically planned to go on Sunday night when I’d be dining alone without coworkers. I had some delicious oysters, several (too many) delicious glasses of wine, and their lobster roll makes little angels sing inside my head. This is a meal that is worth skipping a recovery run for.

the BEST.

Week 4: 15 miles

Monday, 8/10

  • Plan: Make up Sunday’s 3 mile recovery run? Or rest.
  • Actual: Rest

I’m just going to be real here, I was a little hung over first thing in the morning.

I drank a bunch of water, slept another hour, and was a champion for the first day of what proved to be a tough work week.

Tuesday, 8/11

  • Plan: 6 miles w/ 8 x 1:00 @ 10k pace, 2:00 rest
  • Actual: 5 miles @ 9:29/mile; 4 strides

I slept horribly on Monday night, so yet again, I pushed up an easier running day on my harder workout day.

I didn’t do my evening strength training as planned because we had a team dinner. We went to Bricco, which may be my new favorite Italian spot in the North End. A couple of coworkers and I went family style with a bunch of dishes, and everything was great. Two thumbs up.

The meatballs are awesome.

Wednesday, 8/12

  • Plan: 3 mile recovery run
  • Actual: 4 miles with friends, untimed; core/hip strength

Miles with friends on the Charles River Esplanade are the best. I followed up the run with a core circuit and some hip strength work.

The day just kept getting better from there. For lunch, we went to Sam LaGrassa’s deli (the corned beef and pastrami sandwich is great but HUGE!), and we picnicked in Boston Common on a gorgeous day.

After work, a colleague and I booked it to Harpoon Brewery. If you like beer/the brewery scene, I’ve got to recommend this to anyone visiting Boston. The atmosphere was great, I liked the beer, and the pretzel with IPA cheese made me extremely happy.

Thursday, 8/13

  • Plan: 6 miles w/ 8 x 1:00 @ 10k pace, 2:00 rest
  • Actual: Rest

I really regretted not going ahead with this workout on Tuesday. I also regretted not resting enough over the week…WHO AM I KIDDING, it was a great time. But with a big day of work ahead of me, I decided to put my focus there and run in the evening or the next day.

When the work day was over, all I wanted to do was take a nap and go for a late run. So naturally, when my friend/coworker Heather suggested we have a glass of champagne to celebrate getting through the week…YES PLEASE. A glass of champagne turned into another delicious dinner at Bricco and a cannoli from Modern Pastry. So much for those plans.

Friday, 8/14

  • Plan: 6 miles w/ 8 x 1:00 @ 10k pace, 2:00 rest
  • Actual: 6 miles w/ 8 x 1:00 @ 10k pace, 2:00 rest

I got the workout in eventually. It was beautiful and the run went great. Other than one repeat that I ran a tad too fast (8:12/mi pace), the rest were all in the 8:20-8:30 range.

I always pack a carry-on for work trips. This particular day, I didn’t feel like dragging it through security, so I pulled a rare move and checked my small bag.

When I got to the Atlanta airport, I saw my bag on a crowded carousel, stacked above a couple of other bags. I reached awkwardly to grab it, and felt almost a cranking sensation in my SI joint.

It hurt to walk, sit, even shift positions while lying down. Normally a tosser/turner, I had to lie completely still while sleeping because the slightest adjustment of my hips sent my SI joint pain into fury.

Saturday, 8/15

  • Plan: Rest or 3 mile recovery run
  • Actual: Rest

I woke up feeling as miserable as when I went to sleep. I couldn’t do anything bending at the waist – I could barely touch my knees. I found a chiropractor whose office was open on Saturday, and it was good to get out of the house with a glimmer of hope, but I didn’t notice any improvement in the pain. I spent most of the day standing and hanging out on our friends’ front porch, because sitting was more painful than standing.

Sunday, 8/16

  • Plan: 9 miles
  • Actual: Rest

The SI joint pain was somewhat less than the day before, but I wasn’t about to risk running 9 miles feeling that way. I toyed with the idea of a short easy run, but decided that would be horrible judgment given the level of pain I was experiencing.

Week 5: 22 miles

Monday, 8/17

  • Plan: Rest
  • Actual: 3 miles easy @ 9:56/mile

My SI joint pain was steadily improving, but I was getting a little grumpy from not getting any exercise. I tried to think of what I could do to get a good sweat that wouldn’t irritate the SI joint, and realized that running made the most sense – no bending at the waist necessary.

I had a really excellent run. The hills were no big deal. It was odd, except now I’m wondering if something I did to avoid aggravating the SI joint is actually better running form and allows the glutes to activate better. My theory is that it’s keeping my pelvis neutral, so I’m going to try being more conscious of this going forward.

The other great thing about this run was that my SI joint pain was decreased compared to the pain pre-run, and I was a lot more mobile than before (I could actually touch my toes after the run).

Tuesday, 8/18

  • Plan: 7 miles w/ 3-6 @ tempo pace
  • Actual: 5 miles @ 9:54; strides; strength training

Even feeling a lot better, I wasn’t sure about jumping straight into a tempo run, so the streak of putting off Tuesday workouts continued.

Strength training went pretty well. The trainer modified a couple of exercises to avoid aggravating anything, but I was able to do almost everything according to plan.

Wednesday, 8/19

  • Plan: 3 mile recovery run
  • Actual: 3 miles @ 10:37/mile; corrective massage; mobility class

Thursday, 8/20

  • Plan: 7 miles w/ 3-6 @ tempo pace
  • Actual: 7 miles w/ 3-6 @ tempo pace; strength training

I didn’t wake up early, so I had to do this one on the treadmill. 2 miles @ 10:21/mile, 4 miles @ 8:41/mile, 1 mile @ 10:21/mile. The workout felt exactly as it should: comfortably hard until the last quarter mile or so, when it was pretty stinkin’ hard.

We had squat day at the gym, and I decided to attempt pull-ups with a band for the first time. It was a success and I felt like a badass. That is all.

Friday, 8/21

  • Plan: Rest
  • Actual: Rest

Saturday, 8/22

  • Plan: 10 miles
  • Actual: Rest

My throat felt really scratchy and I felt more fatigued than normal, so I hoped that putting off the long run would keep the sick bugs at bay.

Sunday, 8/23

  • Plan: 10 miles
  • Actual: 4 miles @ 10:21/mile; core/hips

I still felt kind of sick and decided to play it safe.

Overall, I’m disappointed that I haven’t been training as consistently as I planned, but sometimes life happens. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, hoping all the obstacles to my training came at once. 🙂


A Heavy Sweater’s 4 Gear Tips for Summer Running

Gear tips to keep puddles of sweat away from your shoes.

It happens every year.

I embark on a longish run, and by the end, sweat is squishing out of my shoes with every step.

On the bright side, I could be tracked if I were lost. Otherwise, it’s uncomfortable and embarrassing.

See, I’m not just a heavy sweater for a girl. I’m a heavy sweater. This isn’t a point of pride or shame, it’s just a fact.

Once on a 13 mile training run, I lost 7 lbs of sweat, measured by taking my weight loss and subtracting the weight of the water I drank on the run. This is the level of sweat glands I’m dealing with, friends. Read on if you can relate.

I’ve gone through some trial and error to see what gear choices help wick sweat away before it reaches my shoes. Here’s what I’ve found.

Tip #1: Up top, less is not always more.

Instinctively, I thought that to cool down, I should wear less. I have tried running in just a sports bra, or in mesh or super light tanks such as the Nike Breeze tank. If puddles of sweat aren’t a concern (on shorter runs, or for less heavy sweaters), these are AWESOME options. If I’m running less than an hour in the heat, something like the Breeze tank or just a sports bra are amazingly comfortable.

After about an hour, circumstances change. In Atlanta’s hot, humid climate, I sweat more than is evaporating off my body. Eventually, the sweat beads up and rolls down my body into my shoes. So running in just a sports bra or a super light tank just lets the sweat roll down, not to mention that those light tanks stick to my body. Gross!

Contrary to my expectation, wearing a slightly more substantial tank top has helped wick away sweat from my upper body, keeping it out of my shoes. I don’t think a slightly heavier tank makes me hotter or more sweaty either. I’ve had luck with the seamless and lightweight styles pictured below. They wick sweat pretty effectively and don’t stick to my sweaty skin as much as some others. As a general rule, if it’s not mesh and doesn’t feel a bit slick to the touch (as opposed to feeling soft to the touch), it’s probably a winner.

Swiftly Racerback

Lululemon Switftly Tank

Brooks Versatile Light Tank

Oiselle Flyte Tank

105F Singlet*Silver HRGP 10

Lululemon 105F Singlet

Tip #2: Cool compression

I used to think of compression socks and sleeves as an accessory to be reserved for cool weather. I liked the squeezy feeling on my calves, they were way too warm to be comfortable in warm temperatures. I revisited the idea of compression gear last summer as I removed my waterlogged shoes from my feet before stepping into my house. I resolved to find some kind of barrier between my dripping sweat and my shoes.

After researching compression gear with a specific eye toward those that wouldn’t be too warm, I bought a pair of CEP compression sleeves and a pair of Zensah compression sleeves. The CEP sleeves are my favorite. They’re comfortably snug and breathe well. The Zensah sleeves are comfortable as well, but they aren’t quite as cool as the CEP sleeves.

These compression sleeves breathe pretty well.

Tip #3: Go low-tech with sweatbands

I got a cheap wrist sweatband in a race bag, and it was life-changing. If the sweat isn’t evaporating, it has to go somewhere, so having a tiny towel on my wrist is great. I wear that nasty old thing on any longer run or race. Its purpose isn’t complicated or innovative; it’s just there to absorb the sweat when fancy tech fabrics can no longer wick it away. Oh, and you can get them for super cheap, like this sweatband I got for the Peachtree Road Race.

Tip #4: Ice, ice baby

Shout out to Runner’s World for this tip: the night before a run, partially fill your water bottle(s) and freeze it on its side, so there is ice from top to bottom.

My go-to long run outfit

From last week’s long run:

  • Lululemon 105F tank
  • Oiselle Stride Shorts
  • Nasty Sweatband from Race Bag
  • CEP Compression Sleeves
  • Swiftwick Aspire Zero socks
  • FuelBelt handheld (old model purchased at TJ Maxx)

Before and after: sweaty but no shoe-puddles.



Have your shoes ever sloshed with sweat on a run? What tips and advice do you have to add to this list?

RnR Savannah / St. Jude Half Marathon Training – Weeks 1&2

I recently started “real training” for fall half marathons.

The long break from structured training following my knee injury was not all that bad, and perhaps even a bit rejuvenating. I kept a long-ish run of 7-8 miles most (but not all!) weeks, and tried to do a faster running workout once every week or two. I added strength training 2-3 times per week.

Ultimately, I like structure. I also don’t like second-guessing if I’m doing the right things with my training. My marathon training last year got off to a horrible start when I selected a plan that wasn’t right for me. I salvaged the experience by getting a custom training plan from Jason, which helped me turn the corner and have a great time training for my first marathon. I thought about designing my own training plan, but after last year’s experience, getting another plan from Jason was the option that made me feel most comfortable.

Week 1: 26 miles

Monday: 4 miles easy @ 10:42/mile; hip/glute strength

I ran 4 miles in the morning before getting my plan in the afternoon. The plan called for a rest day. It wasn’t a terribly challenging run, so I didn’t sweat it.

Tuesday: 6 miles w/ 3-5 @ tempo pace (9:28/mile overall); core; strength training (PM)

Tuesday morning tempo runs are back. The plan said to do miles 3-5 at tempo pace. While I felt fine during the first tempo mile, the second was brutal. In the heat and humidity, I could feel that my heart rate and level of exertion were higher than they should be for a tempo run, so I turned the third tempo mile into a fartlek (each 1:00 of hard running followed by 1:00 of recovery jogging). In retrospect, I probably pushed myself too hard at the beginning given the heat and humidity. Although I didn’t adhere 100% to the plan, I did what I could to salvage the workout. Splits for miles 3-5: 8:33, 8:40, 9:30.

Post-tempo-run core work cat photobomb

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 5 miles @ 9:50/mile; 4 strides; strength training (PM)

Cute run sighting: Paris-inspired locks on the Cherokee Ave bridge

One of the main things I’m working on in strength training is my glute strength, so this was deadlift day with lots of squats and some upper body and core mixed in. I deadlifted 125 lbs. for the first time, but the trainer noticed that I’m still favoring my right side (stronger glute) during squats. Much work still to do.

Friday: 45 min. indoor cycling @ Torq Cycle

Saturday: 8 miles @ 10:46/mile

This was the worst run I’ve had in a while. I didn’t get out for my run early enough, and I paid for it with the heat and humidity. The first 5 miles averaged a 10:00/mile pace, which is on the slower end of what my plan calls for on long runs and about what I was planning for. Then the wheels fell off. I felt like I couldn’t breathe properly, my heart was racing, and my whole body was drenched in sweat. I walked hills and got the run done.

Sunday: 3 miles @ 10:55/mile; core

Bahston bound.

How I pack a work trip carry-on: half suits, half sweat.

Week 2: 26 miles

Monday: 4 miles @ 11:00/mile

This was supposed to be a rest day, but I was in Boston for work, and I couldn’t say no when one of my coworkers wanted to go for a run! We had a nice easy run and great conversation along the Charles River.

After dinner, I walked with a few coworkers to the North End to get a cannoli from Modern Pastry. Delizioso.

The best.

Tuesday: 6.5 miles w/ 3-5 @ tempo pace (9:06/mile overall); core; strength training (PM)

An oh-so-lovely tempo run along the Charles River. With the flat terrain and cooler temperatures, I actually dipped below the 8:30-8:45 pace I was aiming for while still feeling great. Splits for miles 3-5: 8:38, 8:29, 8:19.

Sweaty selfies aren’t my forte. That’s Faneuil Hall in the background.

My gym membership includes custom workout design for members who are traveling, using whatever equipment is available. My first workout was a deck of cards workout. I used the RipDeck app to get cards (if you want face cards, you have to select “intermediate”), and it was an uncomplicated, fun workout to do away from home.

Travel workout.

We had dinner at Strega, one of the North End’s many yummy Italian restaurants AND a good place for large groups. It’s a bit loud, but the food makes up for the ambiance. Strega also has a number of TV screens that are always playing classic movies like The Godfather. Some people love this or hate it. (I think it’s funny.)

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 5 miles @ 9:32/mile; 4 strides; strength training (PM)

The first half of my run didn’t feel great, but it’s impossible to complain about running in Boston.

Charles River Esplanade

Travel workout: descending ladder sets (10, 9, 8,…1) of kettlebell deadlifts, floor press, bent row, and jumping split squats.

Friday: Rest

My glutes and hips were so sore from deadlifts and jumping split squats. A much needed day of rest and travel home.

Kane’s Donuts: worth visiting in the Boston Financial District. #recoverymeal

Also, sparkling rosé and gnocchi at Ristorante Fiore.

Saturday: 3 recovery miles (untimed and SLOW!)

The plan was to do an 8 mile long run here, but I was still really sore from my Thursday workout. Decided to switch up Sunday’s recovery run and Saturday’s long run.

Sunday: 8 miles @ 9:24/mile; core; yoga

Atlanta got a momentary respite from the heat and humidity, and my run definitely showed it/took advantage. It wasn’t quite 70 degrees by the time I started at 7 am, and less than 70% humidity. Despite being mostly uphill, I ran the last mile in 9:01.

Running in my hood.

I also got in a much-needed yoga class on Sunday, after my travel schedule interfered with my Sunday yoga routine the week before.

After a couple of rough runs the first week, I was so glad to have a beautiful week of running in Boston.

How about you: do you pack light for a business trip or take all the stuff?

Do you enjoy summer training or just endure it until the temperatures drop?