Wait! Run Pacing and Yummy Smoothies

Posted: July 13, 2011 at 3:55 pm

This morning I had a rude awakening. I got myself all prepped and ready to head out for my run and decided to look at my training plan on the way out the door. Wait! I had apparently looked at the wrong week before, because I thought this week called for my recovery week (no long run and no speed/tempo run). Yet, there on the calendar – 5 mile tempo run: warm-up 1 mile, 3 miles @ 8:30 pace, cool down 1 mile. Recovery week = next week. C’est la “le training plan”.

My past two experiences with tempo runs have certainly taught me a couple of things:

  • don’t choose a super hilly course
  • I need to learn how to pace myself and not go from super fast to relaxed pace over and over again

I took those two lessons to the street running pathway and cranked out my tempo run for today. I’m still a work in progress but I hit the tempo pace a lot closer and steadier than my previous tries.

  • Mile 1 = 9:47
  • Mile 2 = 8:37
  • Mile 3 = 8:25
  • Mile 4 = 8:29
  • Mile 5 = 9:24

Right now, I think pacing provides my biggest challenge with running, and especially within my training plan from Smart Coach. I strive to listen to my body, but my body will feel great going at a fast 7:45 pace…for about two minutes. Then, I listen to my body, and slow down to a 9:45 pace instead. I highly doubt that is the most productive way to run. 😉

While I really enjoyed running my 10K race without a Garmin, I did end up with some energy walls to push through at the end. I managed, and ended up with a great race time, but would like to get pacing a little more under control before future races so I can give a race all I have, without reaching that “my tank is EMPTY!!!!” feeling only 2/3 of the way in.

Coco from the blog Running With Perseverance has recently discussed pacing for training and races and it got me thinking about the same things. Smart Coach gives me paces with each run based on my 10K race time. I always shoot for the fast paces given in the speed and tempo runs, usually hit the ~ 10:00 min/mile pace on the treadmill once/week, but then just go with what feels good on my other two runs of the week. I consistently end up running my second short run of the week and my weekly long run at least 30 seconds faster than the recommended average paces.

Wait! Are they saying I should go slower than what I can handle comfortably? Do I need to make myself run these runs slower? Even though those runs feel comfortable, do I need to take it back in order to aid against injury? How can I follow these suggested 10:00 min/mile long run paces my entire training and then suddenly manage the 8:14 average pace the plan proposes for my half marathon? Side note: I laugh over that because I would die with happiness managing an average pace a minute higher than that for 13+ miles! But that’s besides the point. The point of all this rambling? I just don’t get the pacing and if/what I should change about how I currently approach it.

Okay – enough running chat! Time for deliciousness!

I topped myself in my little smoothie world today. Well, almost. We are out of spinach, which would have only made this smoothie better, but today’s creation certainly left me mmmmmming more than the usual mix.

Earlier in the week, I froze one banana and half a fresh mango with visions of a summer delight smoothie. I added those to 1 cup vanilla almond milk, 1/4 cup light coconut milk, and 1/2 scoop Power GY vanilla protein powder. Wait! Can’t forget the pinch of xanthan gum! Made my smoothie too thick to drink…

tropical smoothie 3

Okay. I could drink it but wait! Dunking is more fun.

tropical smoothie 2

And isn’t macadamia nut some sort of tropical flavor friend? My lunabar snack yesterday had me hankering for another today…because NO I did NOT really feel bad or embarrassed over my meals yesterday. Sorry the sarcasm didn’t come across so well! Back to today, though.

tropical smoothie 1

Best. Snack. Ever! Or this week. Depending on how dramatic I feel. Regardless, it’s delicious and you should give your own blender the satisfaction of making one. And your own mouth the satisfaction of tasting one.

  • Runners – how closely do you pay attention to pacing? Is there something to this slow pacing thing?
  • Yummy Food Lovers – Are you a tropical flavor lover? What do you think of when you think of tropical flavors?
  • FFF Spotted: Check out a post covering some of my favorite healthy snacks on the Power GY site!

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49 Comments to “Wait! Run Pacing and Yummy Smoothies”
  1. Mandy says:

    Mmmm… the macadamia nut luna bars are my FAVORITE and your smoothie looks yummy too!!

  2. marcia says:

    Yummy smoothie!!!
    My running club coach always says ” run your hard runs hard and your easy runs easy” I like to believe him. With that being said, I would follow your PLAN as best as you can and it will all come together. I run most of my long runs at least 60 seconds slower than my goal race pace…some run them up to 90 seconds slower. When I was in peak running form ( 2 years ago..sigh… lol!) I ran as I was told and had my best year ever. My body was rested and when it needed to be and it was ready to push hard during the tougher workouts and races….even when tempted to GO HARD and FAST during my practices I held back..so I hope that helps and makes sense… 😉 Happy running!

  3. Yum! That smoothie looks so refreshing! Especially with that luna bar dunked in 🙂

  4. Claire says:

    I LOVE that you did a wine glass breakfast too! I don’t know what it is lately but wine is on the brain! That smoothie looks delish by the way!

  5. Honestly I am just starting to get into pacing myself and doing tempo runs, speedwork, etc. So I have no clue. I’ve always just ran how I want – faster when I feel like it and slower when I feel like it.

  6. That smoothie looks SO good. I’m thinking I have to get me some xantham gum!

  7. I’m always tempted to dunk things in my chocolate smoothies – like animal crackers 🙂 Loving the tropical flavor theme!

  8. I do love the tropical flavors of summer…makes me feel like I’m at the beach even when I’m not!

  9. Dorry says:

    Pacing can be so tricky! To be honest, I didn’t pay TOO much attention to it when training for my last 1/2 marathon. If I was on a treadmill, I’d pay more attention, but I hate looking down at my Garmin over and over, so I’d just go with what felt right and make sure I got the distance covered.

  10. Sarah says:

    I’ve never followed a time based running plan: just kind of ran on how my body was feeling. But I know for swimming, I followed a very strict time plan that helped me learn to pace myself for longer swims. I definitely found that following my plan helped me in the long run. Because during that one workout you might have gone a little slower than comfortable, but you are able to handle a tougher pace/workout the next day, etc.

    I love Lunabars if I’m going to eat a bar (which I’m not huge fans of). The chocolate raspberry is my favorite 🙂

  11. I’m not a fan of anything classified with a tropical flavor: smoothies, cocktails, dressings, etc. but I DO love tropical fruit: mango, pineapple, papaya … kind of strange but I guess I like my topics in their true form? 😉

  12. Katheryn says:

    I’m pretty casual when it comes to pacing, but it works for me. I run three times a week for marathon training. One speed run. This run is anywhere from 3-5 miles. It may or may not include hills and I go hard and fast. My second run of the week is my 5 miler at my regular speed. Not an easy run, but I’m not killing myself like my previous run. The last run for the week is my long run that can be anywhere from 10-20 miles – depending on where I am in training. Unlike popular opinion I run this my regular pace instead of slower than. I found on race day that between the excitement, all the other runners around me and the extra boosters, I naturally run faster than my regular pace. Works for me!

  13. I’m not a runner, but I don’t pay attention to pacing when I do run- I would rather pay attention to total distance or total amount of time running. But then again, I’m not training for anything haha.

  14. Errign says:

    I find that since I got my Garmin it enables me to run further outside because I can look down and confirm that I’m running too fast, even though I can physically FEEL it as well.

    Mmm, those Luna bars are like delicious cookies. I do love tropical flavors – I think spicy mixed with fruit or rice & beans. Lots of cumin and fresh fish!

  15. I mean, my running career is hardly up to your standards, given that my current distance record for one run is three miles and at this point, five miles seems like the opposite of possible, let alone a half marathon, BUT…I pay zero attention to pacing. I honestly think that’s a pretty dumb idea on my part, because I imagine the last portion of my runs would be a whole lot easier if I didn’t kill myself on the first half. I don’t know…usually when I run I kind of let my mind do what it wants, and paying attention to how fast/slow I’m running would seem to defeat that. I don’t know if there’s any validity to that or not…but it’s a good enough excuse for me while I’m just working on a 5K 😉

    • Tina says:

      I like not over thinking things too. That’s why I usually just do like you and go without much thinking. But I also want to care for my body.

  16. Smoothies always taste better in fancy glasses 🙂
    I find pacing incredibly hard. My body just wants to run at one speed really and I think it’s actually harder to run slower than faster when I’m trying to do tempo runs.

  17. I need to work on pacing too. I used to be stellar with my pace, but now… not so much…

    I was dead at the end of my last 5k. I started waaaay too fast. I hope I get my pace under control before my next race as well.

  18. Lee says:

    I don’t understand the pacing that Smart Coach uses. I’ve done it before but I didn’t run as slow as it told me. I can kind of understand the slower long run, but I don’t understand why it has you running really slow during the week when it’s not a tempo or speed day.

    Smoothie sounds good.

  19. Lauren says:

    Mmm, that smoothie sounds delicious. I have some coconut milk to use up and this is an excellent idea.

  20. When I used Smart Coach for my marathon training last year, I found the same – I was always running faster than the times they told me. In the end, I just used the time variations from Smart Coach as a relative guide to my pace. So, I’d say keep running faster than the plan calls for. 🙂

  21. Kelly says:

    I will be honest I have never once paid any attention to pacing…um…ever. I would just run and push myself to be better and faster each time. Then I would recover for a week or so and just run a comfortable pace and then I would pick back up again hard runs. In races I would always join a pace group based on the goal time I wanted and let them do the pacing work for me. When I was trying to qualify for the NYC Marathon I knew I needed to run under a 1:35 half so I got a guy friend of mine (who is a triathlete) to pace me. Again I let him do the pacing calculations and I just ran. I was able to run a 1:31 half and I think the reason is because I never knew my mile splits and therefore couldn’t get freaked out at how fast I was going. Sorry to ramble…pacing just doesn’t work for me. Too much overthinking.

    • Tina says:

      Haha! Loved the ramble because it sounds like something I would love to do – just follow along with someone else.

  22. Priyanka says:

    I love tropical flavors, my favorite tropical smoothie combo (pineapple,strawberry and papaya with greek yogurt) make me think of Hawaii. Man, I miss that place so much.

  23. Coco says:

    Thanks for the shout-out! I’ve gotten mixed comments on my post too, with most people saying they don’t really do their slow runs as slow as it says. I will say that when I “undertrained” for a 10 miler because I was nursing an injury, I pulled out an awesome pace that was probably 1 minute/mile faster than I had been running.

    I still haven’t braved a green smoothie — maybe I should use a wine glass!

  24. Danica says:

    I just started training for my first 10K that’s this fall and I was honestly having this very same dilemma!! My training plan calls for 10:19-minute miles with I can comfortably run them under 9…I’m not sure whether I should follow the training plan or just do what I can, the faster the better??

  25. This is timely for me – I’m registering for some longer races and realize I cannot sustain the paces I keep in 5K or 10Ks. I have a horrible time trying to make myself go slower though.

    • Tina says:

      It’s so HARD to run slower….but I also don’t want to end up with injury. You would think comfortable would mean less chance of injury but then why the recommendation to go so much slower? So confusing!

  26. I definitely care about my pacing, I can’t leave home without my Garmin! I know..this is probably not a good thing, because I run into big trouble / panic when my garmin dies while I’m out for a run.

  27. Rebekah says:

    oh…my…goodness…I need to buy some xanthan gum! Your smoothie looks absolutely delish!

    And I looooove tropical flavours! I definitely think of mango automatically. It brings me back to when I volunteered at a hospital in Benin last spring during mango season. I had to have one (or two!) every day. I definitely believe God placed me there at the right time ;).

  28. Melanie says:

    I never thought of dipping bars into smoothies! What a great idea for breakfast!

  29. This is a timely post for me since I just started training for a half marathon. I don’t have any gadgets to help me keep track of pace so instead I figure out how long it took me to run a certain distance and see if it corresponds to the pace outlined in my training schedule. Probably not the most scientific way to do things but then again I don’t have a problem with running too fast (quite the opposite actually) so I’m not too worried about overdoing it and injuring myself *knock on wood*

  30. Ooo! What a brilliant idea to dip a Luna bar into a smoothie! I’m very impressed!
    And I feel you with the Xanthan Gum! Anytime I add too much to my smoothie I feel like I’m eating paste lol 😀

  31. During tempo/speed runs I always wear my Garmin, but I have the same dilemma with pacing! Some of my ‘pace runs’ feel too slow, but I don’t want to burn myself out too soon. I don’t want to push my pace and then end up injured; but I also don’t want to be selling myself short!

  32. The smoothie looks so tasty! I really need to start making those!

  33. I’ve been running for 8+ years and pacing still has me baffled. I’ve tried running 30 seconds to 1 minute slower on my “easy” days, but I just find it harder to run so slow! So, my theory is to run at a comfortable pace – a pace you feel like you could keep running once you finish your run. You shouldn’t feel out of breath or like you’re working hard. I know there are other theories out there about not running your easy runs too hard, but I just go by how I feel. It seems to work – I’ve PRed in most of my races!

  34. chelsea says:

    I discovered the neatest trick yesterday for pacing myself! I run while my boy-friend rides a bike next to me haha =D He would change the gears to go faster or slower but he kept pedaling at the same pace. First mile took 9:27 and when I told him I wouldn’t set a PR at that pace he changed up the gears and we did second mile in 8:07 =D I really felt like I had a consistent pace everytime until he changed the gears because I stayed next to him.

    I find it much harder to stay at a consistent pace when you’re running outside by yourself for some reason. Once I hit that wall I hit it =/

  35. Courtney F says:

    pacing is the hardest thing for me to do as well!

  36. That snack looks DELECTABLE!!!

  37. Liz says:

    I’m using smartcoach for the first time for my upcoming marathon. For my long runs, I usually end up about 10-30 seconds faster than what they recommend. But if you click on the details of the workout, they say it doesn’t have to be exactly that pace as long as it is a comfortable speed for you. So I think your pacing is spot on!
    p.s. Their prediction for my marathon makes me laugh too.

  38. Oh man! Your snack loooks delicious! 😀

  39. OMG gotta try the dunking!! That looks so delish, and isn’t xanthan gum a miracle worker…it truly takes the smoothie to another level 😉

    Coconut will always and forever take me to that tropical place, there’s nothing like it! 🙂

  40. Vanessa says:

    I’m a little late on leaving a comment, but I wanted to give you my 2 sense on running. I ran xc in college. It’s important to run the slow runs slow and hard workout fast. You should be able to talk effortlessly on the slow runs and not be able to talk on the hard days. You need 2 days of hard and 2 easy(well, medium easy) and 1 long run. That will get you in good shape! 🙂 Oh, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of your food from Wed. I thougt it looked yummy. I don’t have a blog, but if I did I wouldn’t want to post some of my food. But ya know, when bloggers post “junk”(yours wasn’t junk in my opinion) food it show the readers that it’s ok and life is way more about eating all healthy and stuff. 🙂

  41. May I just say that I absolutely LOVE you had your smoothie in a wine glass? I LOVE IT! And dunking the Luna is always necessary 🙂

  42. Woah you are over my head with all this pacing stuff! haha. I’m still working on the distance and endurance bit of running. 🙂

  43. bob says:

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