A New Training Plan

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Guess who came back from camp in one piece?IMG_9816

None the worse for the wear, with plenty of stories to tell me. My week of freedom was nice, but I did miss my boys. The messy house? Not so much. :p 

With the break from kids and their activities, I didn’t actually do much last week. I did eat a lot of salads and spend a lot of time in the pool, reading my book. It was nice. 🙂 We also had my nephew’s graduation party on Saturday, which was fun, although those things do tend to drag on. But there was cake!


It was both chocolate and yellow, and it had that whipped frosting that I really like.  I was careful about what I ate during the party, because I definitely wanted to enjoy some cake. And I did! I also enjoyed some on Sunday, as well. :p 

Unfortunately, my scale definitely reflected my food choices.


That’s up .4 from last week, exactly where I was two weeks ago. Not exactly ideal. I decided to do up a few charts to take a good, hard look at my eating for the last week. Here’s my calorie intake compared to goal.  Above the line is good, below the line is bad.


Well, except for one day, I did pretty well. On Thursdays and Sundays, I have challenges, because I tend to want to eat as if I ran that day, even though those are my rest days. But still, one day isn’t going to make or break me, right? In fact, if I chart out my “estimated weight” at the end of each day, according to My Fitness Pal’s calculations based on my entries, it looks pretty good:


The blue line represents my estimated weight at the end of each day based on what I ate if I ate that way every day for five weeks. Kind of ephemeral, but it’s a The red line was my weight on Monday, while the green line was what I actually weighed at the end of the week. Hmmmm…considering how far I was below the “current weight” line all week long, except for that one day, you would’ve thought the odds would be in my favor that I would’ve lost weight.  You would’ve thought…

So then, after seeing that, I decided to look little further. I charted out my carbs and sugar intake for the week.  First, carbs. Once again, below the line is bad.


Oh dear. Then I took a look at sugar. Below the line = still bad.


Clearly calories are not my issue. I really need to work on my carb and sugar intake. But it’s so HARD!! All the things I enjoy are filled with sugar and/or carbs. Plain and simple. There’s no sugar-coating it. (Oh my God, I could not resist that pun.) I’m going to have to take a good, hard look at my food choices and figure out what sacrifices I’m willing to make if I want to get back to goal. Just typing that out makes me miserable! 🙁 

On the other hand, I do feel like I just need to get through this summer staying below 124, and then when the cooler weather hits, I’ll be back to normal. That seems to be how it’s gone the last several years since I started getting healthy: I do really well in the winter, and then I have challenges in the summer, partly due to all the extra food I seem to find, and also partly because I tend to retain water in the summer. (Does that happen everyone, or is it just me?)  I put together a chart of my weight over the last year, to see how my current weight compares to this time last summer.


I definitely gained last summer, but I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to keep it in check this year, not get quite so high. 

Hopefully, my new half marathon training will help with that! Yes, I am officially in training for the Romeo to Richmond half marathon on  September 18.  This is my sixth (maybe seventh?) half marathon, so I’m no stranger to training for this distance, but this year, I’m doing it totally different! Thanks to my awesome friend Katie at runsforcookies.com, I’ve got a totally new method of training: heart rate zones. 

If you’ve been reading my blog  for a while, you may remember that, starting at the end of March, I did the MAF heart rate training advocated by Phil Maffetone. Katie was the one who first recommended it, from posts on her blog. I gave it a try for three months, and in that time, although I don’t know that I improved significantly, I can say that I went from doing a 20- to 21-minute mile at my MAF zone to about a 13-minute mile.  That’s seems like it’s a pretty good improvement! I won’t say I love the fact that my “easy” runs are in the 13-minute mile range, considering that I know lots of people whose easy runs are more in the 10-minute-mile range, but I guess everyone is different, and that seems to be  the pace that I’m supposed to run when I’m trying to run “easy.”  On the bright side, doing those 13-minute miles actually makes running kind of enjoyable most of the time. 🙂 

Still, after 3 months of super-slow running, I was ready for something different. I originally found a heart-rate training plan on the Garmin site, which was cool, but I wasn’t sure if it fit my needs. I sent it to Katie, and she reviewed it and offered some suggestions, and then she very kindly offered to write up a personalized training plan! (Being friends with a certified running coach is pretty awesome! 🙂 ) 

She tailored the plan to my specific heart rate zones, which she calculated from my Garmin run data that I made available to her. I’ve used her plan  for about a week and a half now, even though I technically didn’t have to start my training until this past Monday.  But I didn’t have anything else to do last week, so I figured I might as well double up on the first week and see how it went.  I’m happy to say that so far, so good!   I really like how it makes me think differently, and keeps my brain engaged during the run in a different way.  

For instance, instead of focusing on a specific pace, now I focus on a heart rate zone, and whatever pace that comes out to is what I run.  And it can vary from day today, even when the zone is the same!   For example, last week when I was doing my easy runs in Zone 1, I was running anywhere from a 13- to a 14-minute mile.   This morning, however, all the odds seem to be in my favor, and that same Zone 1 was a 12:14  average pace for 30 minutes!  I think that’s the fastest I’ve run in Zone 1 since I started the training in March!

 I don’t know if this training will make me faster, although Katie is pretty confident that it will.  I’m hopeful that it will at least allow me to finish my next half marathon feeling better than the last one.  And if nothing else, hopefully I’ll burn some calories training for this race over the summer!

 I’ll keep you updated on my progress. Thanks so much for reading!

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