My Busy Life. Getting a Boost from Pure Earth Juice

This post is sponsored by Del Monte and Pure Earth Juice. All opinions are my own.

I kind of touched on this a few days ago, but now that my personal training schedule is starting to fill up, life is becoming really hectic. I’m in the middle of marathon training, and the schedule that I planned out a few weeks ago is getting harder to keep up with because I keep scheduling clients earlier and earlier. Something has to give, and I’m not going to let it be my running.

Instead I have been taking my breakfast on the road several times a week to save time in my morning routine. I’ll make a smoothie if I have time, but even that sometimes is difficult. This morning as I took off for work I grabbed a banana and my new juice obsession Del Monte Pure Earth Juice.

Del Monte 5

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A DIY Blogger: Welcome to Coach Debbie Runs

Coach Debbie Runs LogoYou may have noticed some changes around here! Welcome to Coach Debbie Runs! One of my big goals for 2015 was to re-brand my blog. When I started Live from La Quinta six years ago, I didn’t have a clue about blogging or what I was going to write about. It just sounded like fun. I live in La Quinta, and I thought the name had a nice ring to it.

Over the course of time, Live from La Quinta has evolved into a healthy living and running blog, with a side dish of vegan cooking and family life. While I still write a little about La Quinta, the title itself just didn’t “say” health and fitness. Heck, half the country can’t even pronounce “Quinta!” (It’s Keenta by the way, not Kwinta.)

Even though I am not “techy,” I am a DIY Blogger. Everything you see on my blog, for better or worse, is my own work. I installed the theme, designed the layout, even created my new logo. And while I am re-branding, I am doing it a step at a time. You may notice that the URL is still livefromlaquinta.com. That’s mostly because, even as a do-it-yourself blogger, I’m scared to death of making that change on my own. I think it will be time for a little professional help, just so everything changes over smoothly (and I don’t lose six years of hard work).

So, my next step, in addition to changing my URL, is going through the process of changing my social media handles. I’ve done that once before (way back when I first joined Twitter and Instagram I was Shnuddy, a nickname that my husband bestowed upon me. I’m still stuck with it on some accounts, like YouTube, which doesn’t let you change your name.), so I imagine it will go smoothly.

While all this sounds like a big change, and it is, you probably won’t notice any difference in my content. I write about what I know: running, fitness, a plant-based lifestyle, dogs, and life. I have no plans to change that. I just want to spruce up the old blog, maybe get some new readers, and keep things fresh.

Finally, for the first time since I put my blogging goals down in writing, I feel like I’m working toward my word of the year.

BraveSo, what do you think? Do you like the new look? Do you have a suggestion about who could help me switch my URL? I have a couple ideas, but I’m open to suggestions. Finally, thank you all for reading. I’m always amazed that people actually want to read what I have to say, and I love you for it.

One Step Forward, Three Steps Back: Training Update

It’s been a tough two weeks around here. After avoiding the first go-round of illness that invaded my work place, it finally caught up with me. That’s what I get for being cocky I guess. In spite of a flu shot (which I have heard only protected about 20% of people because of a mutation in the virus), I got it badly. Actually, I’m not sure if it was the flu or just a bad cold, but I had a cough, congestion, headache, body ache, and generally just felt, well, shitty.

As far as training went, I feel like I had taken one step forward, then three steps back. I didn’t run for 10 days! That is really rare for me because when I get a cold I can usually muddle through, maybe missing one workout. I think that many times a short, easy run makes me feel better. Nope, not this time.

Keep Your Eyes on the GoalI finally got out for a short run on Saturday. Alan and I, along with a neighbor, ran four miles on the trails. I felt good, had no breathing problems. My legs felt fresh! Even though I woke up with a headache, I pushed through. The headache went away while I was running, only to come back with a vengeance when we finished. While it wasn’t a migraine, it was enough to send me back to bed, where I spent most of the rest of the day.

One Step ForwardWhen I woke up on Sunday I really felt like I’d turned a corner. While I still had a cough, my headache was gone, and I just felt good. I did keep it light, just a three mile run with the dogs, but it went well and didn’t knock me down for the day. Same thing on Monday. An easy three mile run and all felt well.

However, all this sickness and missed workouts puts me behind on my training plan for the SLO Marathon in April. I’m not worried about the speed, there’s plenty of time to get the benefit of that, but I’m a little concerned about both my long runs and my total weekly distance. I have to sit down and make a training update, and figure out how to get all the long runs I want, without trying to make too big a leap to get there.

On top of that, if I can just whine a little bit more, my schedule is filling up at work, which is a good thing, but it also makes it harder to get in the workouts that I’d planned. So, I will have to re-work my mid-week running plans too. Plus I picked up a class on Saturday, so that will bump my long run to Sunday. Yikes, I guess I just need to create a whole new plan. Good thing I have 13 weeks until the race!

So, as it stands, here are my goals for the upcoming week:

Monday: Easy three miles (got that one!)
Tuesday: Cross Training: Pilates Reformer
Wednesday: Five miles with a few fartlek bursts, just to see how everything is feeling.
Thursday: Cross Training: Pilates Reformer
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Five miles before work, Yoga class after.
Sunday: 10 miles (I feel like I need this to get back on track, but I’ll see how I feel and cut it back if I really need to.)

I won’t let these obstacles sidetrack me though. I plan to run strong on April 23, and I know I just need to keep my focus on that goal. All of these “problems” are just distractions tempting me to take my eyes off that final goal. I’m not going to let that happen.

What obstacles have you faced when trying to achieve a big goal? How did you overcome them?

The Top 5 Marathon Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Marathon MistakesAh, the marathon. Twenty six point two miles of wonder, joy, and things waiting to go wrong. It’s hard to have a perfect race, but there are some things (aside from following your training plan) that you can do to make your experience as successful as possible. Start by avoiding these common marathon mistakes (that even the pros sometimes make).

1. Skipping Aid Stations

It was October 1999, in St. George, Utah. I was running the St. George Marathon. I was in great shape. I had trained all summer for this race. The race starts at an elevation about of about 5,000, it has a net elevation loss of 2,500 feet, which is misleading because much of the first 20 miles of the race are full of rolling hills, and what seems like plenty of elevation gain. It didn’t matter though. I felt fantastic. I was rolling along, at about a 7:15 pace. I felt so good that I didn’t want to mess with my stomach by taking in any gels or other sustenance (I had a history of extreme nausea during the second half of marathons).

This strategy worked fine until mile 20, and what should have been a final downhill cruise back into town. I hit the wall. Hard. I slowed down, struggled not to walk, and couldn’t even find a final kick as I approached the finish line.  What should have been a 3:10 marathon PR, ended up 3:16, still a PR, but not as easy to celebrate after losing over a minute a mile in that last 6.2.

I learned a hard lesson though. Start fueling yourself early and continue throughout the race. Practice during training so that your body adapts, and, either find out what they will be handing out in your marathon, or bring your own. Another tip when running through aid stations: Skip the first table or two, grab a cup from a volunteer, thank them, then pull out of the slow lane by the table (without blocking those that are bypassing the station). Try pinching the top of your cup. It will make it easier to swallow without spilling most of it down your front. If you’re using a gel, take it before your fluid.

2. Not Tapering Correctly

Tapering is hard. Who want to stop, at the peak of their training, and gradually do less for the last two or three weeks before their important marathon? It seems counter-intuitive. Won’t I lose too much fitness? Many a runner, from beginner to pro, has given into that temptation to run “just one more long run.”

Don’t do it. This is science people. After months of hard training, your body needs some recovery time so that it is rested and raring to go. Follow your training plan, which will probably allow some type of speed training up until the last week of your taper. Eat properly, drink plenty of fluids, and rest. Your well trained body will reward you with a good race. Find more information about tapering here:

Taper 14

Click on the photo for the full article.

3. Trying Something New

Whether it’s that adorable outfit you picked up at the expo, or the fuel that they are handing out at the race (if you didn’t plan ahead and use it during training), trying something new during your marathon is generally not a good idea, and could be a recipe for disaster. Many a runner has regretted choosing to run in those cool shoes that they picked up for such a great price, only to be plagued with blisters, knee pain, or other problems, midway through the race.

Everything that you will be using during your race should have been tried out during training. Even if you have a new pair of the same model shoe, test drive it for a few runs before your event. Plan your fuel, your race day outfit, your morning breakfast, ahead of time, based on what you have been doing during your training.

Marathon Quote

4. Starting Too Fast

This is probably the most common mistake among marathon runners of all levels, even the elites. When my husband Alan ran his first Boston Marathon in 1992, he had qualified, at the age of 43, with a sub-3:00 hour marathon. So, there he was, on the start line alongside the likes of Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter. Even as his jaw dropped to see those marathon legends next to him, a wise runner near him said, “Watch out. Don’t get caught up with these guys, or you’ll pay the price.” Then the gun went off. Alan tells me he hit the 10 mile mark in an hour. He managed to recover from those 6:00 minute miles (which would be a 2:37 marathon), by finally catching himself, slowing way down, and managing his race.

What is it about running that tells us, after training for months for, say, a 4:00 hour marathon, that once we get started and find ourselves running 8:00 minute miles, that some little imp inside our head says, “Yes! This is your day! You can run an half hour faster that you planned!”

Don’t listen to that imp. He lies. Stick to your running plan, and run at your goal pace, or even a little slower, as your start. Work through those nerves, don’t worry about what the other runners are doing, and run your own race. You’ll thank yourself. Remember, there is no such thing as “money in the bank” in marathon racing. It just doesn’t work that way.

5. Judging Yourself Too Harshly

So you’ve been training hard. You have hit all your targets, stuck to your plan. You followed all of the advice above, raced smart, fueled correctly, all of it. You know you’re on pace for that elusive PR. And then…it doesn’t happen. You fail.

Marathon Quote 3

Whoa. Back up! Erase that last word. You did all of the things above. You finished 26.2 miles with pride and strength. There is no failure in that. So many things go into the perfect race. Things over which you have no control. The weather. The race route. Road conditions, hills, turns. Sometimes things don’t fall into place. The stars don’t align.

Instead of beating yourself up, analyze what happened. What went wrong. Was it just a bad day? Were you ill? Take a look at the big picture. Then, pick yourself up, and try again. (After an appropriate recovery of course.)

On April 23, I will be running my 37th marathon, the SLO Marathon. Believe me, I have made all of the above mistakes over the last 18 years of running marathons. Hopefully I’ve learned from them. Although I will not be trying for a PR in San Luis Obispo (those are long behind me), I plan to run strong and smart. If you’d like to join me, you can save $10 when you register by using the code WOODAMB.

While this post is about marathon mistakes, many of them apply to races of any distance, especially the half marathon. What would you add to the list? What is the biggest mistake you made at a race of any distance?

5k Friday: Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 4

Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 4

By the end of last week, you had accomplished several things. (Did you miss week one? Click here.) You were able to run five minutes at one time. You were also running about 18 minutes during a single workout, with very little walking. Is everything feeling good? Any aches and pains? Take a body check from time to time. Even though we’re taking things slow, you are still adding a great deal of exercise into your life. Be smart, if you’re feeling sore or tired, it is okay to take an extra rest day now and then. Your body talks to you. You just have to listen.

This week, we will be adding an optional extra running day into the mix. It will be shorter and easier that the others, but still it will be an extra day. Because of that addition, we’re not going to make a huge change in the length of your running intervals, but we will cut down a little on your rest intervals. If you have any shin or knee pain, do not add this extra day (and you should probably take an extra day off). Remember, each workout starts with an 8-10 minute brisk walk and ends with a 5 minute slower walk, stretching and icing.

Day One: Repeat last week’s day six workout: After your warm up, run for four minutes. Walk for one minute. Run for five minutes. Walk for one minute. Repeat both intervals.

Day Two: The point of this workout is to decrease your walking rest periods while maintaining your running intervals. Warm up, then run for four minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Repeat two more times. This is a little less total running than we’ve been doing, but because we’re adding on another running day tomorrow, we don’t want to overdo it.

Day Three: (Optional) You may be feeling tired this morning, but unless you are hurting, try to push through it. It will be a pretty easy workout. After your warm up, run for three minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Run for four minutes. Walk for one minute. Run for five minutes. Cool down.

Day Four: Rest Day. Strength, Yoga, Pilates, etc. are okay.

Day Five: This is your key workout of the week. Hopefully you are feeling strong after your rest day. Warm up. Run five minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Repeat three more times. Cool down.

Day Six: Repeat day five, with only three intervals.

Day Seven: Rest Day. You can take it completely off if you’d like, or do some weights, etc.

Congratulations! You’ve been running for a month! Great job! Next week we will lengthen the intervals, and one of the workouts will be all running (except the warm up/cool down).

Running Faster

 

Refer back to this post for information on whether you’re ready to add speed to your workout, how to find your goal pace, reasons for each workout as well as the first week of workouts to add to your training.

The Workouts

The Long Run: This week add one half mile to your run on one day of the week.

The Interval Workout: We’re still on the track for this workout. Warm up for about a mile. This is a ladder workout. Each interval will be a little longer than the previous. You will be running each interval at about the same pace, about 90-95% of your max effort, though, so be careful not to go all out on some of the shorter intervals then not be able to keep the pace on the longer ones.

Interval 1: 200 meters (halfway around the track)
Interval 2: 400 meters
Interval 3: 600 meters
Interval 4: 800 meters
Interval 5: 1000 meters
Interval 6: 800 meters
Interval 7: 600 meters
Interval 8: 400 meters
Interval 9: 200 meters

Finish with a cool down and a good stretch.

The Lactate Threshold Workout: We are back on the road for this workout. After your warm up, increase your pace to about 85-90% of your maximum effort. Maintain this pace for one mile. Drop the speed and jog for about 3-5 minutes. Repeat one to three more times, depending on you current mileage (don’t exceed the distance of your long run). Finish with your cool down and stretch.

Remember, in addition to these workout, you can run another one-three days during the week, nice easy, shorter runs (recovery runs). A sample schedule can be found in this post.

Week four is in the bag! Great job!

Honolulu Marathon, Blog School, Mimi Kirk and More!

I have a few (kind of random) things that I want to share with you. From the educational (Blog School), to the healthy (Mimi Kirk), to the (for me) exciting (Honolulu Marathon), to the mundane (health insurance), I decided to just jam it all in one post.

Going Back to Blog School

Blog Genie’s Blog School is back and if you’re a blogger, you really should think about signing up. Rita Berry kicks off school season on February 2 with a free, three part “Road Map” to blogging.

Blog-School-Screenshot

The Blog School Traffic Roadmap, 3 part training is totally free and will give you the tools and strategy you need to start building your traffic, whether you’re just starting out or have been blogging for years.

  • The 2 critical components you must get right before you build your traffic
  • Why promotion is the last thing you do to build your traffic and why most people try it first (and why they get frustrated)
  • The most valuable blogging exercise you’ll ever do, it’s what I still do every time I start a new blog or product
  • How to blog less for more traffic
  • Why the way we think about blog traffic is backwards and how correcting our mindset makes traffic so much easier to generate
  • The difference between high and low quality traffic and why you can create a better and more successful blog with less pageviews than you might think

I was a student in the first session of Blog School, so while this is affiliate link, I speak from experience that it is totally worth the investment.

Honolulu Marathon

In case you missed my Instagram post:

(I thought it was kind of cool that @HonoluluMarathon reposted this!)

Yes indeed, I signed Alan and myself up for the Honolulu Marathon! It seems like spur of the moment, but it really wasn’t. We’d hoped to go last year, but the stars did not align, so when a friend tagged me on a link to the early registration (only $55!), I took the plunge.

In case you didn’t know (or didn’t read the Instagram comment above), Honolulu was my first marathon. I wrote about it here. I’ve done the race six times, but I haven’t been back since 2003. Eleven years, but our plans will be the same. Fly over to Oahu on Friday before the race. After the race on Sunday, catch an island hopper over to Kauai, our favorite island, and spend four or five days in Hanalei. It’s a great place to relax after a marathon. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually want 2015 to fly by because the 2015 Honolulu Marathon is on December 13.

Medical Insurance

It sounds kind of silly to get so excited about something I took for granted while I was employed at my former job, but my new medical insurance starts on February 1! Yes, I have been uninsured since I was fired last summer. All that time, in spite of being really healthy, I’ve been worried about getting sick. Fortunately, it hasn’t happened (or won’t happen in the next 10 days, knock on wood). Thank you ObamaCare. Before my last job, I was denied affordable health insurance because I had a pre-existing condition: exercise induced asthma (I mean, come on, how ridiculous is that?). I will sleep much better now.

Fascial Stretch Therapy

I don’t talk about it very often, but I have been dealing with chronic lower back pain for several years now. I’ve tried a few things, including a chiropractor, stretching, and medication, but it has continued to be an issue for me. I’m sure some if has to do with what I’m doing right now, sitting here typing for a couple hours at a time. I think that finally I have found something that will make a difference.

Although Stretch to Win and Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST) have been around over 20 years, most people haven’t heard of this undulating stretching technique that focuses on fascial continuities, rather than isolated muscles. Fascia is the connective tissue that that form sheets or bands beneath the skin to attach, stabilize, enclose, and separate muscles and other internal organs. FST is a special and specific technique that addresses the nervous system and joint capsules to help our muscles, which are surrounded by fascia, to function better, relieve pain, and correct minor structural issues of the body.

It is very popular at my fitness center right now, and I hope in the future to get certified myself, but last Saturday I became a true believer. We had a fitness event and I, sick as I was, manned the personal trainer booth, doing fitness and body composition assessments. We also had some lectures, vitamin B-12 shots, free chair massage, and other informational booths.

We also did free 10 minute FST sessions, which were the most popular item on the agenda. I finally had a chance to take a turn at the end of the event, and I got a little extra time (about 30 minutes). The therapist worked on my lower body, since that was my main issue. Afterwards I felt fine, but nothing super special. Of course at that point I just needed to go home and go to bed.

The next morning I woke up, and for the first time in months, maybe years, my back didn’t hurt. That was Sunday. Today is Wednesday and I am still pain free. As I said, I am a believer. FST is becoming popular among professional athletes as a way to correct imbalances in the body and improve athletic performance. I really suggest that if you have chronic pain that you look into FST. You can find certified therapists in your area here.

Mimi Kirk at Bikram Yoga University Village

Finally, for locals. My friend Kim, who owns Bikram Yoga University Village in Palm Desert (aren’t I lucky to have two friends who own yoga studios?), asked me to spread the word about a special event she is hosting at her studio on Sunday, January 25. Raw food chef, author, and “Sexiest Vegetarian over 50,” Mimi Kirk will be discussing raw food preparation, along with a food prep demonstration, tasting, and book signing of her book “The Ultimate Book of Modern Juicing.”

Bikram Yoga Event

By the way, Mimi herself is the best model for her vegan, raw food lifestyle. This “sexiest vegetarian” is actually 75 years young!

Have you ever tried (or heard of) Fascial Stretch Therapy? Want to join me in Honolulu on December 13?