The Chicago Marathon is just 12 weeks away, and I’m in the usual situation of having slacked off over the winter and not having a great base to build from… but I’m here, ready to get rolling & trying not to beat myself up over it. To slowly build my mileage, I’m running 4x a week this week and next. From there, I will maintain 5x a week running schedule for the rest of my program.
This past week marked my official first week of training. For the first time, I’m working with a private coach (yay!). As a coach and a consultant myself, I certainly value access to a coach for a number of reasons. The two big ones are as follows:
- Hey, I might learn something! I used to think that I could learn everything I ever needed to know from books, articles or Google. While that’s probably mostly true when it comes to running, I just plain straight do not have time to scour the internet to expand my running know-how at this point in my mother of twins, working full-time, coaching, marathon training life. So, the coach really helps with this.
- On days when I’m dragging (and it happens a lot), it helps to know that someone is sitting at home in front of her laptop staring into Google Sheets eagerly anticipating the moment when Kate comes online to input her splits into the training log. This is what I imagine, anyway. And it helps.
To expand a bit upon point #1 above, the big Ah-Ha for me this week came last weekend during my long run. It was hot and humid. The day before, I completed a 4 mile race where I sent a personal record. I tacked on a few miles on the way to the race to both warm-up and get to the start line and then a few more miles running home from the race. My plan was to run 12 on Saturday. Instead, I ran 8 (it was pouring & I was spent) and told myself that I’d run 12 on Sunday. BAD IDEA. And a rookie mistake. The next day I was sore from my effort the day before. On top of that, it was HOT and HUMID on Sunday. My long run sucked.
In speaking with my coach after the fact, she introduced me to “the suck factor”, which is essentially a way to take the heat & humidity into account and adjust your goal pacing accordingly. To do this, you add the real temperature to the dew point and use the chart below to adjust your pace. For example, and since I’m running tomorrow morning at 7am, let’s see what my pace should be! My long run pace range is typically 9:35 to 10:05. The forecast for tomorrow at 7am is 71 degrees and 61% humidity, which yields 132 suck and means I should adjust my pace by 2-3%. Since the suck is on the low end of the range, I’m going to adjust so that my target pace is 2.1% slower, 9:47 to 10:17.
|Suck Factor||Pace Adjustment|
|00 or less||none|
|101 to 110||0% to 0.5%|
|111 to 120||0.5% to 1.0%|
|121 to 130||1.0% to 2.0%|
|131 to 140||2.0% to 3.0%|
|141 to 150||3.0% to 4.5%|
|151 to 160||4.5% to 6.0%|
|161 to 170||6.0% to 8.0%|
|171 to 180||8.0% to 10.0%|
|Above 180||hard running not recommended|
That’s my week in review! I would love to hear what races your training for, how it is going and what you’re learning along the way.
All the best!
About 10 of the moms in my Awesome Twin Mom Group are starting Couch to 5K (C25K) programs. It is amazing to see them progressing each week. We have a closed FB group where they check in and post selfies taken “on the run” – I check in nightly to see their glistening faces. This is just the sort of thing that gets me going in the best way possible.
Recently, one of them asked me about gear so I have decided to share a few of my favorite running accessories! Of course, one of the many appealing aspects of running is that you don’t need much. In the early days, I only really invested in a decent pair of socks and shoes, but as I’ve gotten more sophisticated (read: old), I appreciate a few other items more and more.
1. Sports Bra: For me, only needed a good one recently, since I started lactating. Before twins, I was pretty small on top. Now, I have huge and uncomfortable melons that chafe when I run… and a newfound appreciation for my old bod. Hooray! The Moving Comfort Juno is the only sports bra that helped me feel secure while running with my new accessories. I highly recommend it.
2. Place to stash my phone: Until recently, I ran phone-less, but since I’m a mom, I feel the need to be reachable in case of emergency so I use a Spi Belt. If you don’t overload it (i.e., just use it for a phone, gel, credit card and a $20), it doesn’t flop around uncomfortably. To try a few different styles, go to your local running store. Be sure to load them up and go for a jog to get a real feel for the product.
3. Headphones: On long runs, I’ve started listening to audio books and podcasts. Earbuds don’t stay in my ears so I use these exclusively for running. They stay put and they’re fairly inexpensive so when the sweat starts to get to them, I just buy a new pair (usually one every year or two).
4. Socks. The most important thing to remember when it comes to socks is to avoid cotton, which will most certainly result in blisters & discomfort. After that, socks are largely based on personal preference so you might have to try a few to see what you like. My preference is for the Hidden Comfort socks from Balega for when I want some extra cushion. They are SO comfortable that sometimes I just wear them around the house. For a more minimalist feel, the Second Skin is the way to go.
5. Shorts. Running in Brooks Women’s D’lite Racers feels like you have nothing on, which is basically my definition of a good running short. If you chafe on your inner thighs, consider wearing tights to protect your skin.
6. For long runs, something to hold my water is key. There are bottles designed to fit in your hand, but I like to be hands-free so I opted for a belt. Nathan’s Trail Mix is my favorite because it has a clip closure rather then velcro, which can degrade over time, not to mention snag your clothes. If you’re marathon training, you probably could benefit from 4 bottles. I usually run in an area with water fountains so I opt for just 2.
Good luck with your running, whether you’re marathon training or attempting to go from C25K!
To say I felt conflicted about procreating was putting it lightly. I spent most of my twenties putting off thinking about it. Based on my limited experience with friends who had kids and subsequently disappeared into suburban routine filled with soccer games, mom jeans, and minivans, raising kids seemed unappealing at best. Around the age of 28 something changed, not logically because I can say with certainty that my head was still not so sure about this kid thing, but biologically, my body said ‘tick tock’.
Fast forward two years and babies (plural) was what we got. When you spend the better part of a year looking forward to the arrival of your little bundles of joy, they are without a doubt the most interesting people you have met that year, potentially the most interesting people you have met this lifetime. Mother Nature mixes up some sort of hormonal cocktail that guarantees that. Thank goodness.
Our little people were perfect. The boy arrived 4 minutes ahead of his sister. I will never forget the moment my doctor handed me his bloody, screaming body and announced that the baby was a boy. My heart was so full. Momentarily, I forgot that there was another baby to push into the world. She followed quickly behind and I was equally excited to meet her and hold her smaller, less hairy, but still very bloody body. The days that followed were a sleep-deprived blur.
Within weeks these fragile beings were developing distinct personalities. We compared them endlessly, which is the one thing you really aren’t supposed to do, of course. They weren’t that interesting in the beginning to anyone but us, but fast-forward to age one and personalities are in full bloom.
With a machine gun laugh and a tiger’s ferocious growl, tenacious is an understatement when referring to our little Birdie. If she were a part of speech, she would without a doubt be a verb. She is always moving, changing and climbing. She mimics adults around her and coos warmly when she receives attention. Her big, twinkling eyes are accentuated by model-like brows, and the smirk on her face gives you the distinct feeling that perhaps she knows something you don’t.
Ticklish from his little toes to his tiny nose, Cal’s laugh is contagious. Even his very busy sister can’t help but join in when he gets going. Sometimes he throws his head back and collapses in laughter. He is thoughtful and thorough in his explorations of all objects, studying them until he understands precisely what they do and how. Another favorite pastime is snuggling with Charlotte the cat – using her as a pillow, really – as she basks in the sun. And he gives the best bear hugs!
This year has certainly been a challenging one. Despite my initial ambivalence, I wouldn’t change a thing about it (except maybe more sleep). These two babies are truly a blessing. Seeing the world through their eyes is a treat.
Stay tuned for a sneak peak into a day in our life.