Well, first of all, holy cow, you guys. Thanks for all your words of wisdom and support after last week’s training update. I felt a little needy after I posted it, but man, I tell you, your hearty “you can do this” comments definitely got me over the bump of a rough first week. I know I’m not out of the woods yet (read: preparing for rough weeks ahead) but thank you so, so much. So many of you have been running for years and your advice and expertise is invaluable to me right now. It’s like my own personal team of coaches (except I’m kind of glad you aren’t here in person to shout at me to go faster). Love you guys for that.

Ok, so a quick rundown on week #2.

After the first week, I didn’t know if I was going to be pleasantly surprised by the week’s workouts or dead on the ground.

Turns out, it was a little of both.

Week #2’s Workouts

-Monday: ran 2 miles on the treadmill (surprisingly not so bad; listened to my audio book)
-Tuesday: early morning cross-training with my friend Deb (a T25 DVD: Lower Focus)
-Wednesday: ran 2 miles on the treadmill (not as easy as Monday thanks to my daughter needing me every second of the run, more about that below)
-Thursday: again, early morning cross-training with my pal, Deb (a 35-minute whole body strength/conditioning workout which left me unable to feel my arms and shoulders for two days)
-Friday: rest, baby
-Saturday: ran 3 miles on the treadmill (details about why on earth I ran three days on the treadmill when I prefer to run outside below)

What Worked

-I followed my training schedule exactly and for a schedule-obssessed personality like mine, that was comforting in and of itself. Check, check, check. Love the sound of that.

I embraced the treadmill. Brian was gone all week to Oregon (his dad had open heart surgery and he was there helping out and thankfully, thankfully, thankfully, his dad is doing well); being without a partner-in-parenting-crime and knowing that pushing the double jogger with two tons of toddler weight inside was not my idea of fun (plus it rained a lot this week), I knew it was treadmill or nothing. And I guess in a weird way, I was kind of grateful I at least had it here as a backup. It actually wasn’t so bad after I succumbed to Netflix. Catching Fire to be exact. I was still dying and sweaty and totally out of breath, but Katniss and Peeta definitely helped the time speed by, although Katniss’ cool calm and svelte body and hardcore stamina made me kind of want to puke.


-I decided not to even care how fast I was going. After lamenting last week about feeling so slow – dozens of you commented with insight about running times and I realized that I’m actually ok with my pace. I know if I push it, I’ll be miserable and maybe injured, plus I told myself over and over this week that the fact that I was running was a step in the right direction and it didn’t matter how fast I was going. I think I stayed about the same pace as the first week (about a 5.3 to 5.5 on the treadmill). And honestly, this race is not about speed for me. It’s about finishing and accomplishing a goal.

What Didn’t Work So Well

The treadmill. I really wanted to run outside for at least one or two of the runs but it didn’t work out that way thanks to what I talked about above. The difficulties were that because of where our treadmill is – when I tried to wake up early to run while the kids were sleeping, it woke everybody up. Awesome. Then, when I tried to run while my two littles (ages 6 and 2 1/2) were running around after the three olders were at school, it resulted in Camryn (the 2 1/2 year old) getting her fingers pinched in the treadmill (so lucky it wasn’t worse) because in her words “I need you, mom!” which she reminded me of by trying to hold onto my legs the whole time I was running. So much for pulling out all the shelved toys I could think of for them to pass the time (we’re talking 30 minutes here, I’d hate to think of the reality if I was running for hours like some of you crazy awesome souls). I muddled through and finished the runs but those sessions probably weren’t my most favorite of all time in the history of ever, if you know what I mean.

I was certain I’d get an outside run in on Saturday morning. But, I think due to the stress of the week or maybe my kids’ coughy germs, more like, I started feeling sick around Thursday night. I guzzled water, drenched myself in my favorite essential oils, loaded up on Vitamin C, tried to go to sleep at 10 p.m. instead of midnight and thankfully I wasn’t feeling any worse by Saturday morning…but not a whole lot better either. Because I was feeling a little nauseous, I decided it was a treadmill run or nothing at all – just in case I felt sick enough I needed to hop off and collapse. (In the end, I ran the three miles with no problems and actually think exercising that morning helped kick my system into gear – I felt pretty good the rest of the day. So yeah, here’s me always thinking the worst.)


New Things This Week

-After several recommendations, I picked up the book: Run Less, Run Faster. I’m not sure I really needed this book quite yet. It’s focused a lot on increasing your pace and getting a new PR and qualifying for Boston and stuff like that (and like one of you mentioned last week, since this is my first half-marathon, I’ll already have a PR; sweet!). But I did like reading about why they encourage the 3Plus2 philosophy (run 3X a week and cross-train 2X a week). Dude, you don’t have to sell me on the philosophy of running less. I took some notes while reading the book but got waylaid (I started reading it while sitting next to my kids who were watching the old school version of Where the Red Fern Grows and had to abandon reading when my two oldest boys started bawling their eyes out when Dan died and it only got worse when Ann died of a broken heart – and then before I knew it, we were all crying and the running book was completely forgotten until the next day). I learned a lot about running form, stretching, nutrition and how to avoid some common injuries and I think there are parts of it I’ll refer to along the way although I’m not going to change my training schedule or anything like that. I don’t have the option to do any of the cross-training they recommend either (swimming, biking or rowing) so this week I’m going to figure out some cross-training options that are lower impact and maybe do strength-training those days.

-The nutrition thing got me thinking that I should probably do something official to track my calories – mostly so I can make sure I stay at my target goal (only a target goal after reading the book above and even then, I don’t really know if I need to worry about this yet – advice?) of getting 65% or so calories from carbohydrates, 20% from fat and 15% from protein. I don’t like counting my calories. I love food. We all know that. But I usually do a lot of subbing out carbs when we eat rice or bread or the like with dinner (like using quinoa or cauliflower rice, etc) and basically, I just want to see where I’m at with my eating. I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app on my phone. It gets me all sorts of hivey and anxious to input my food – like there’s some nutrition sergeant looking over my shoulder – but I have to begrudgingly admit that it has been helpful to see exactly what I’m eating and how it plays out on the percentage spectrum. I don’t plan to change much of how I eat. I haven’t felt like I’ve been lacking in energy to finish a run but that train of thought is also kind of laughable since I’m only running a whopping 2-3 miles which I’m pretty sure is not exactly considered taxing. I already eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and overall a pretty balanced diet. If anything, when I increase mileage about halfway through the program, I might need to up my carbs just a bit.

fitness pal

Sorry this has gotten a little long and windy. Again, this is mostly a journal for me to remember where I’ve been and where I’m going. If you are still reading, have a handful of dark chocolate chips on me. You deserve it.

I have to give a shout out to Brian and the boys for running, too. They have their eyes set on the 10K in June and have been running 1-2X a week. They went out and ran close to three miles on Saturday morning. Even despite Jackson falling on the sidewalk (they have referred to it all weekend as “the sidewalk splat”) and getting some road rash on his shoulder and hands and legs, they kept running and came home in good spirits (it didn’t hurt that Brian kept enticing them with visions of German pancakes for breakfast after the run). I’m proud of them! They help motivate me and keep me accountable even when I want to hide under the covers and not run for ten more years.


Upcoming Week

-Not a lot of changes this week. My miles increase just slightly: 3 miles on Monday, 2 on Wednesday and 3 on Saturday.

-I have an ultra-busy week (don’t we all?); literally each day is scheduled from sun up to sundown so I’m going to have to be really, really dedicated to the training schedule and fit running/exercise in wherever I can, even if it means super early in the morning (party in the entryway after the kids wake up, oh yeah!) or late at night. I’m determined to do it, though.

On another note, if you didn’t get a chance to see Jill’s crazy/amazing/inspirational story posted last week, you just have to. I watched her video a dozen times, at least, last week and felt renewed each time (plus, I about cried when I saw Jamie’s comment in the thread about how it helped her). I’ll be posting a few new stories this week, too, so check back on the main Running Page if you are interested in reading those.

Thanks again, everyone, for making this experience doable and dare I say: fun (kind of).

Also, if you are following along on a similar schedule or just running in general, I’d love to hear how things are going for you, too!

17 Responses to Training Update: Week #2

  1. Julie H says:

    I’m a little behind the times, (2 months), but after reading your Where the Red Fern Grows experience, I just had to give you my recommendations for movies that you should watch with your kids: Brian’s Song (watched with my teenage son) and A Little Princess (watched with my 9-year old daughter). My son, through his tears: “I can’t believe you didn’t tell me this was a sad movie?” and my daughter couldn’t talk through her tears. Years later we are all still laughing about it.

    • Mel says:

      Love the recommendations, Julie – thank you! That’s so cute about your kids and their reactions to those movies. I haven’t seen either so looks like I might be a crier, too. 🙂

  2. Isabelle says:

    Oh man. Something that I loved about you and gave me hope was that you never worried about calories! Please don’t get sucked into the calorie trap. It can easily make your life miserable, even though it usually starts out in the name of healthy and no necessarily calorie-counting. Just be careful, please! Don’t be me!

  3. Kathryn Shaffer says:

    Oh no! Using a treadmill with a toddler around is almost impossible! They never need you more than when you are running on the treadmill. And you are having and puffing so hard, at least I am, that you can’t even answer them and it makes you in a bad mood to even try! And if you glance over to look at them, you may just trip and fly off the edge! I applaud you for even trying it!

  4. Rachael says:

    So normally I run while my youngest is asleep, but on the rare occasions that I HAVE to run when he’s awake, I try to do it at a mealtime so that I can plop him in his high chair next to the treadmill. I can usually knock out at least 3 miles (especially if I start dumping Goldfish on his tray!) before he’s yelling to get out. 🙂

  5. Jessica says:

    I think just eating a well balanced diet is perfect at this point. No need to go crazy with your calorie counting or food categorizing. My flaw with this whole running thing is I usually overeat to make up for all of the calories I think I’m burning. I swear I’m the only person who can actually train for a marathon and gain weight! I take carboloading very seriously!

    • Mel says:

      You and me both, Jessica! I had to remind myself I probably don’t need to be carb loading when I’m only running 2-3 miles every other day. 🙂

  6. Tanya M. says:

    Yay for you Mel!! And your boys!! I had to laugh at the German Pancake incentive!! That is my “get everyone up, out of bed, and dressed for church” trick on Sunday mornings these last few years while my husband is gone to meetings. We call them Popover pancakes.. but I think they’re similar… they’re about the only thing that gets my teenage boys moving when their beds are calling their names. They have to be fully dressed for church to eat them….mean mom that I am! You resort to these tactics when it’s 5 kiddos against 1 mom. haha! 🙂

    Anyhoo… I feel like I’m in this with ya! I did 3, 3, and 5 miles this week. It seems to be getting a little easier!? 🙂 Thanks for all the encouragement and updates! Its fun to be on a journey with lots of other people!! 🙂

    And I agree with the comments that the kids get used to treadmill time… my 3yr daughter plays dolls and draws and hardly needs me.. she just knows its play time. It will get easier! Maybe a new dollar store toy, stickers or something to distract? Worth more than a buck if she’s happy while Mom is running! ?

  7. Sarah says:

    It sounds like week 2 was a big success! I’m amazed that you were able to fit it all in while single momming things. I know the treadmill isn’t the most fun, especially with kids sometime literally underfoot. The more I ran at home on the treadmill when my kids were younger and that was pretty much my only running option, the more my kids got used to it and stopped “needing” me every two minutes. I’m looking forward to reading about week 3!

    • Mel says:

      Don’t be too impressed, Sarah! There were moments it definitely wasn’t pretty. 🙂 I think you are right, though, the more it happens, the more my kids will get used to it (fingers crossed).

  8. Lisa says:

    Great job, Mel! The best thing you are doing right now is figuring out what works and what doesn’t for your training. I can’t imagine having to work that around little ones! That is a huge challenge! It will all fall into place, and your training schedule will be a breeze. I would definitely suggest screen time for the kiddos, especially if that’s pretty rare in your house. While you’re not having to run 5 miles or more, that will be a treat for them, and it’s not so long that you should feel guilty about entertaining them that way. If that doesn’t work for your kids, try something really simple like cutting paper. Really! Some kids will just cut paper for an hour. That will only work once or twice, but it will give you time to figure out what they can do the next time you need to hop on the treadmill. I’m with you on not worrying about pace or diet right now. Your pace will get better the more you train. Intervals will help with that when you’re ready – just run at a comfortable pace for 1.5-2 minutes then jack up the speed for 30-45 seconds. Treadmills are great for intervals! And since you’re not trying to be an Olympian or anything crazy, and you already eat healthy, just listen to your body and fuel it when it needs fuel. I hate tracking calories & macronutrients. Just keep enough protein in your diet to support your muscles, don’t overindulge in the junk, and get in your veggies. All the stuff you’re already doing! You got this! Keep up the stretching to ward off injuries. Nothing is worse than being sidelined 4 or 6 weeks prior to a race because of an injury! Have a great week!

    • Mel says:

      The cutting paper thing is a great idea, Lisa! I thought I had all the tricks up my sleeve to entertain them and truthfully, my sweet six-year old (Ty) does pretty well. It’s just Camryn and as my husband reminded me – she feels like she “needs me” 24 hours a day so I shouldn’t be terribly surprised she melts down when I’m unavailable on the treadmill. I’m going to use your idea of cranking up the speed every few minutes just to give a diversion to the treadmill running. I like that. Thanks for reiterating that I don’t need to be crazy with all the tracking stuff yet. 🙂

  9. Kate says:

    Oh Mel, I absolutely adore these updates. It is really so inspiring to see someone taking on all the many things that keep mere mortals from exercising more regularly. Have you considered trying a movie/screen time for the little ones while you run? I generally try to avoid all that, but it is quite captivating and keeps them off of the treadmill while I am on there.

    • Mel says:

      Thanks, Kate! You are sweet. Screen time is a whole other topic, I suppose. I’m not opposed to it but I try to reserve it for the time of greatest potential (read: when I can get the most done). They only get about 30-40 minutes of screen time during the day and I guess I’ve been hanging on to it for other times of the day. But I hear you on it being a good option if I want an effective, peaceful run. Thanks for bringing it up!

  10. Jackie says:

    First I’m glad to hear your father-in-law is doing well and 2nd way to go for accomplishing all that while you were home alone. I think I would have been seriously tempted to take the week off if I had to do it with my kids hanging on me! I had a great week, 4.7 miles on Saturday, not all running, I took some walking breaks but I did it in about the same amount of time that I did 4 miles last week so that was encouraging! Good luck to you!

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