I completed a great run on the weekend but the weather has put a bit of a 'dampener' on my week's training so far. Not to mention that I have been back working which I am sooo stoked about and LOVE, but it's also tiring me out a bit too. Nevertheless, I was up in the dark at 6am to do my hill repeats this morning. This is probably what is tiring me out more than the work so we'll see how long I can keep that up for.
Anyway, I am 11 weeks away from my marathon and at the moment my training is consisting of 3-4 runs a week, plus some cross-training (generally weight sessions) and some good ol' twilight soccer to keep things fun.
Two of my training sessions will consist of around an 8-10km run, one will be hill repeats and the other will be my long slow distance (LSD). With the hill repeats I am trying to do one more each week, for example, last week I did 3, this week I did 4 and I want to build up until I can do around 7-8. Phew! My LSD I do on the weekend, I try to make it a Saturday.
The key to your training, for any distance, is to build it up gradually. No matter how much you may be loving it and no matter how good you feel, if you go too hard/far too fast you'll wear yourself out, perhaps get an injury and maybe even eventually put yourself off it.
The next part of this is about my running essentials. For my training there are essential things that I MUST have. The first thing, and might I add is my latest obsession (just come to my house and you will see these everywhere), are good books/magazines about running training, nutrition and the like. Here's a pic of a few of my staples at the mo:
Gotta love the library for anything running - they have it all, cheers for that! Also, my bible for running is Runner's World... I don't actually get their magazine normally (this one was a free copy - bonus!) but their website is a valuable source of information, there is nothing you can't find on there to do with anything running. They have training programs, nutrition info, gear info, race info and soooo much more!
In terms of nutrition most of these running books will have sections in them about 'food for runners', but I also LOVE the Healthy Food magazine. Same again, although I do tend to read their mags I am also constantly searching their website for great, healthy and yummo recipes to try out.
The next essential for my running are some good sounds - molto importante! I LOVE my iPod Shuffle that hubby bought for me for Christmas when I first started running. It's sooo light you won't know you're wearing it and it conveniently clips right onto your waist band, or whatever you are wearing. My fave songs at the mo (for running and just in general) are Six60 - 'Only to be', such a great song, 'Pumped up kicks' for some upbeat funk, by Foster the People, 'Dog Days' and 'Shake it off' by Florence + the Machine, just to name a few. It always helps to have some funky beats to get you in the mood but it's also important not to have it blasting too loud so that you are aware of/can hear your breathing, as well as sounds around you such as traffic, pedestrians and other runners and walkers.
The other thing, seen in the below pic, is a good watch. My one in this pic here is a basic one that I got super cheap but it does the trick in terms of timing my runs, it has a light and an alarm (to wake me up and so I can see in those early morning runs when it's still dark), and it does lap splits. On my running wish list is a fantastic GPS watch which gives you really advanced details such as your time per km, distance run, heartbeat, and more. My ultimate would be a Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS... Drool!
Last but not least are the essentials I use for my LSD runs - generally anything over 90mins and I will have one, if not all of these things with me. The first one is a drink belt, which is uber important when running longer that 1.5-2hrs, and particularly in summer, or hot weather. In case you haven't noticed running makes you hot and being hot makes you thirsty... Therefore the need for a drink on the go. The belt in the pic here is just a cheapy I bought off trademe, however you can check out other brands and types at stores like Rebel Sports, online sites, and other sports stores. You want to get one that feels comfortable to wear, is light when it's empty (as it only gets heavier when it is full) and I also find it useful to have other pockets/compartments in it to store things like gel sachets, your cell phone, money or lollies.
The powerade powder is what I use to make up sports drink for my LSDs, and it seems to work for me, plus it's way cheaper buying it in powder form than it is in the ready made bottles, and it lasts for around 9 months. You might like to try different sports drinks and see what you prefer, and also when you are running in competitions it is best to train with whatever sports drink they will be using on the day - which may be different all the time. The gel sachets are something I have only used a couple of times - these are for the REALLY long distances - for me I only would use over the 30km mark - but then again each person's preference for this will vary significantly. They are really high carb and just help to top up your tank when you are doing long distances and settle better in your tum than eating a solid food. Do be ware though as they are really sticky and not something you want to get all over yourself when you are in a race.
I guess the last essential would actually be clothing - but perhaps this should be the first thing... With clothes I would say just wear what you feel comfortable and confident in and something that makes you look good because, as silly as this may sound, the better you you look in your running gear, the better you will feel = the better you will run. CHOICE! And let's face it everyone wants to look hot when working out (I look super hot if you like a girl with a bright red face, sweaty and looking like she's about to pass out... HA!).
As for shoes - I still haven't found my ultimate best ever pair of running shoes, I am still on the search for these so my advice there would be to go to your local sports shoe store and get them to do a consult on what would suit you the best - if anyone is going to know it'll be them.
Would love to know what shoes you have found to be great and why.
Until next time, crank those funkalicious beats and run your hot little asses off! YEOW!