Embracing the offseason

Hey there, I know it’s been a couple of weeks but I decided to spend the last couple weekends enjoying my family and celebrating Thanksgiving. Sometimes it’s nice to step back from something for a little while and just live life.

With that said, I’d be lying to you if I said I was running regularly right now. In fact, the last time I ran was on Thanksgiving morning at my local 5k Turkey Trot where I had a 18 second PR and finally held onto a 13 minute pace for more than one mile. It’s a small victory but I’ll take it. Instead I’ve been spending time with my parents, sisters, friends, and of course Henrik. I recently started dating again so I’m allowing that to take up some time as well. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break, sometimes we need to regroup and truly miss something we’re passionate about so we don’t burn out from over doing it.

I’ve been getting my miles in, but in different ways. Henrik and I walk for 2-3 miles every night and 4-6 on the weekends. A couple of nights a week I try to get down to my gym to spend an hour on the elliptical which usually gets me to 5 miles. I know some people don’t really have an “offseason” and train all year round, and that’s fine. But for me, I get physically and mentally burned out by the time November hits. In an effort to enjoy the holidays with my family and to look forward to next years races these couple of months off of an official schedule are critical for me.

This will also allow me to be fresh by the time half marathon training starts in February. I’ll be running the Pittsburgh Half Marathon again for the 4th time but this time I’m making it more special by running with the American Cancer Society, the charity I ran for in the Chicago marathon almost 2 months again. I’m really excited to be apart of that group and helping out the other charity runners with their training. If you’re able to, please consider donating at the link below. Next weeks post will touch more on running through a charity and why it’s so important to me.

https://www.crowdrise.com/acspitt2018/fundraiser/christinapier1

 

Till next time..

Training my first athlete

Happy Sunday everyone, can’t believe we’re almost half way through November. It’s been a pretty quiet week for me, trying to get back into a work out routine and really be mindful of what I’m eating because I’m so focused on being better next year.

I wanted to discuss coaching this week and what it’s been like to train my first “real” athlete. As I mentioned in one of my first posts, I got my RRCA certification earlier this year and I’m really passionate about helping others and becoming a resource for them even if they decide to not work with me. This past June my athlete reached out to me via email because he wanted to run a marathon this November, after asking several questions to see if we’d work well together and go over his goals we decided it was a good fit. I’ve trained myself for several races and I’ve helped out family/friends but never had an actual client so I knew I’d also be doing some learning.

It’s been an incredible learning experience over the last few months, I can honestly say it’s probably been the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. I’ve learned to give advice based on logic instead of emotion, which is something I usually struggle with because I am an emotional person, and I’ve also learned that I don’t know the answer to everything (shocker). Since working with him I’ve learned so much more about the sport because if he had a question I wanted to be able to answer it correctly. He crushed every work out I gave him, if he had a question he’d ask so he wouldn’t risk injuring himself, and most of all he’s inspired me to pursue running and coaching even more. By watching him never give up and grow as a person it’s inspired me to do the same. His marathon was yesterday and he did so well! I’m so proud of him and his accomplishment.

It’s definitely not easy getting into coaching as someone who isn’t as seasoned as others because you’re asking someone to trust that you know what you’re doing. I’m not going to lie I was nervous that I’d fail at this and I’m so happy it went well. I strongly encourage everyone to either work with a coach or at least seek their advice because they can offer so much insight and hold you accountable. On days when I wasn’t feeling it my coach would reach out to me and give me words of encouragement and just that little boost made all the difference, that’s something I tried to mimic with my athlete.

I’m hoping that I’ll have many more awesome clients next year and that I can make an impact in their lives as well. There is truly nothing more rewarding than helping someone achieve their goals.

 

Till next time..

Gearing up for the last race of the year

It’s been an incredibly boring week as far as getting activity in goes. It was my last week of recovery and I took full advantage. Although, Henrik and I did walk quite a bit. I was planning on running today but it’s been completely disgusting in Pittsburgh for the last 2 days so I decided to stay in bed and watch Netflix pretty much all day. I don’t feel bad about it either.

My last race of the year is next Sunday and I’m really excited for it, last years finishing time was 2:27 and I’m shooting for a 2:10-2:15 this year. I’m planning on running 5 days this week, nothing too crazy just a 3-5 miles a day at an easy pace. I won’t need to carb load or anything for this one (it’s only 10 miles), which thank God, I’m really trying my hardest to eat healthy.

There isn’t much else to write about this week, so here’s a picture of my sweet Henrik. IMG_7231

 

Till next week!

Lose the weight.

I’m still in “recovery” from the marathon, I have another week off before I’ll start running again which will put me at a week out from the 10 miler. With that being my last race of the year the idea of an offseason is getting so close. I had a lot of plans for last years offseason, then I got sick with bronchitis for almost 2 months. It was miserable. I only have one goal this time around and that goal is: lose weight.

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I am an overweight runner. It can sometimes be very uncomfortable running with the extra pounds, but aside from running, I’m just very uncomfortable in my own skin. That’s no way to live. The discouragement of this past marathon was amplified by receiving my finish/race photos. I hated the way I looked and I immediately thought, I am not going into another training cycle looking the way I do right now. Also, I know I can be faster if I am lighter.

I’ve done several things to lose weight in the past, most of the time they were unhealthy methods, and I always ended up gaining it back. This time I’m going to going to take a different approach and be more relaxed about it. Instead of tracking every bite of food I take and counting every macro and calorie I am going to consume real whole foods, work out for an hour 5-6 days a week in addition to walking Henrik everyday, and enjoy an occasional night out. My nutritionist mentioned wanting me to do “red, yellow, green”. I’ll be keeping a journal of how my day went, nothing too fancy,  just simply green if it was a great day across the board, yellow if I slipped up but nothing too bad, and red if I completely destroyed my diet that day i.e. ate a whole gobblerito. After acknowledging how my day was I’ll reflect on that and write how I can be/do better the next day. I think reflecting on each day will help me significantly to stay in tune with my body, and seeing the different colors throughout the week will really help me understand where I need to make improvements.

As the focus of my writing shifts from just running to running and weight loss for the next couple months, I plan on sharing my workouts with you all and some healthy recipes. Losing weight is so hard, especially with the holiday’s around the corner but I am determined to make some big changes this offseason.

If you’re interested in doing this with me, please let me know! It’s always easier with a support system.

Post marathon recovery and plans for the rest of October

I cannot believe it’s already been a week since the marathon, where is time going?! I’ve done a lot of reflecting, stretching, sleeping, and eating since last week. I like to celebrate for the entire week after a big race before I get my life together and make healthier choices. You put your body through a lot during training so splurging is always welcomed. I’ve also been sleeping every chance I get which Henrik hates me for because all he wants to do is go outside and play.

Monday-Wednesday were pretty rough. But once I finally got through that and I could finally move normally again, I’ve been walking during lunch and after work (with Henrik of course) and I’m glad I’ve been forcing myself to get up and move. I made the mistake last year of not doing anything for the 3 days after the race and the recovery took so much longer. I’m also so ready to start eating like a normal human again, carb loading gets old real fast and this last week has just been an excuse to stuff my face any chance I get. I went grocery shopping on Saturday and I’m so excited to get back to healthy eats and focus on losing some weight.

As far as what my plans are for the rest of the month they include mostly resting, spending time with Henrik, and exploring our neighborhood. I won’t be doing any running until the last week of the month to give my body a decent break until my next race, the EQT 10 miler, on November 5. It’ll be my 3rd year doing this one and I absolutely love it, it’s not too long and it’s not too short, I highly recommend it if you’re in the Pittsburgh area. This will be my last “real” race of the year. I always participate in the 5k Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving but that’s more of a fun run.  I’m so looking forward to having a social life, or at least the option of a social life, for the next couple months. I’ve literally been training since February with a 6 week break in between the Pittsburgh half and training for Chicago so it’s much needed.

I have a lot of plans for next year that I’ll be discussing in the coming weeks but in the meantime I’ll be documenting my weight loss journey, pupdates on Henrik, and ways to be active that don’t include running since it’s almost offseason!

 

Until next time…

One week out!!!!

Holy smokes, where did this training cycle go?!?! It feels like it took forever but flew by all at the same time. I’m so excited to get this done and have a nice rest period once I get back home to Pittsburgh.

I’ll be in Chicago from Thursday afternoon to Monday night, and for the most part the entire weekend is already filled. Friday morning I’ll be at the expo, that afternoon I’m hoping to do some kind of tour of the city, then that evening I’ll be at the team dinner for Team DetermiNation- I’m running through the American Cancer Society this year. Saturday, the day before the big day is going to be limited to the Chicago International 5k in the morning and resting most of the afternoon/evening. Monday is for exploring before I head back home to my puppy.

I figured I’d share my travel essentials for a trip like this. My parents are driving out again this year so I am leaving all of my stuff with them and just taking a purse with me on the plane (thanks mom and dad!). Obviously your race outfit is super important to pack; mine includes a tank and capris from Lululemon, feetures socks, Brooks running bra, my Brooks ghost 10s, and my flip belt.

Aside from the most obvious thing to pack, I’m also bringing along a ton of other essentials. In my bag will be:

  • My vital proteins collagen peptides, I do not drink coffee without it.
  • Foam roller, because no one likes a tight back and hamstrings before race day.
  • All of the snacks! I’m bringing a few rxbars, epic bars, and gomacro bars.
  • My own bread, jelly, and PB for my pre race PB&J sandwich. I eat one of these before every long run ever and it totally throws me off if I don’t have it.
  • Imodium! I see a lot of people waste a lot of time at the port a potties, I take a couple before bed and a couple when I wake up the morning of the race and I have yet to have a problem.
  • My TENS machine, compression socks, and magnesium. All of these are for after the race to help me recover.
  • Honey Stinger chews and nuun. The chews are for during the race and nuun is for before and after. Hydration is so important these next 6ish days.
  • Note cards to writing inspiring messages to myself to put around my hotel room.
  • Lastly, I’m bringing along my Clean Sport Collective temporary tattoos to put on my shoulders for Sunday morning. CSC’s mission is to end doping in sports, although I am only an amateur/recreational runner, I still want to do my part to help end doping in running (and all sports really).

 

Next time you hear from me will be after the race! Good vibes are much appreciated!

Two weeks out

Two weeks from now I’ll be in Chicago eating deep dish pizza and having a beer at Lou Malnati’s while proudly wearing my medal. Visualizing the finish line and afterwards always help me get past the anxiety of race day.

This year I’m doing a two-week taper, as opposed to last year’s one week taper. Tapering is such a weird feeling, you’re still as hungry as you are during the weeks leading up to peak week but you aren’t doing anywhere near as many miles. I’ve found it’s very important to be extra mindful of your diet at this point, you don’t want to over eat for two weeks and show up to race day bloated. Not fun.

I find that I also get crazy emotional at this point. You put in so much time, effort, and work and you’re getting so close to showtime. It’s very easy to let the emotions get the best of you and turn you into a crying mess (not that I’ve been doing that or anything).

There’s a few things I’m doing during taper this year that I wanted to share with you. Now is the time to really take care of your body and make sure you’re good to go for the big day. (Disclaimer: I am not a health professional, you should speak with your doctor before taking any supplements.)

  1. Increasing my collagen consumption. Collagen is a great supplement for us runners. It helps with your joints, bones, tendons, cartilage and so much more. My favorite is from Vital Proteins. You can find more information about their collagen on their website.
  2. More Iron! Did you know runners lose iron through their heel strike? I’ll be eating more red meat and spinach, in addition to taking an iron supplement every other day.
  3. Better quality sleep. I’m aiming for 7-8 hours of good quality sleep. Sleep is so important for muscle recovery.
  4. All of the hydration. Obviously don’t go overboard here, but I’ll be increasing my water consumption over the next 13 days and adding nuun tablets in for extra electrolytes.
  5. Calf compression sleeves and TENS machine. Compression socks/sleeves have been a game changer for me in the last year. I’ll usually wear them while using the TENS machine on my quads. I like to do this before bed a few nights a week to keep my legs feeling fresh.
  6. Stretching, stretching, and more stretching. I feel like this is pretty self-explanatory. Tight muscles are no good.
  7. And lastly, carving out time for myself to do something non running related. It’s so easy to obsess over race day being so close that we can forget to step away for a moment and take a mental break. For me this might include doing a face mask, taking a hot bath, taking Henrik to the dog park. Whatever you want it to be, but it’s always nice to do something for yourself that’s outside of the sport to keep you mentally sane.

 

What are your tips for tapering?