Training Week #6

A little update for this last week (six weeks in, baby!) complete with some unfiltered, emotional details of my tough week and the run Saturday morning (which involved a bit of a breakthrough for me).

Week #6’s Workouts

-Monday: ran 3 miles on the treadmill late at night
-Tuesday: did a short 15-minute workout from the Nike app (thanks Mary for recommending it in last week’s comments) – was a little nervous to hurt my back again so mainly focused on lower body and a few pushups
-Wednesday: ran 4 miles today! didn’t realize I was running slightly uphill half the distance until I turned around to run back and realized how much easier it was (and I could actually breathe)
-Thursday: was supposed to do a yoga or cross-training workout but between cooking 40 pounds of BBQ pork and making 200 rolls for our Cub Scout banquet, it didn’t happen (but I did eat a lot of rolls so there is that)
-Friday: rest (was going to pick up a yoga workout today but life got in the way and it just didn’t happen)
-Saturday: ran 4 miles (more on this and my total breakdown below)

Here’s What Happened

So this week was rough for me. Without getting into all the nitty gritty, I got to Friday and just wanted to collapse – emotionally, physically, mentally. Every which way I looked, I was stressed and tired (staying up past midnight to cross things off my to-do list every single night wasn’t helping) and I think a little down and out. My runs on Mon and Wed had gone pretty well but still kind of drudgy and painful. I woke up this morning (Saturday) knowing I had to get my run in bright and early since we would be at a wrestling tournament for my oldest son most of the day as well as fitting in lots of errands, cleaning the house and yard, spending an evening with another family, etc. When I woke up before 7, I wasn’t sure I could do this. The yucky feelings from the rotten week were still lingering but without giving myself time to talk my body out of it, I set out to go 4 miles.

I decided on the same course I ran that very first Saturday I signed up for the half-marathon (over six weeks ago, before I officially started a training schedule). That day, I had wanted to see if I could do 4 miles and seriously, it almost killed me. I’ve never been that miserable and sore in my life.

Today as I started running, the air was cool and crisp and the sun was just cresting over the horizon. It was an incredibly glorious morning, despite the pain of getting up so early on a Saturday, and about a half mile in, I had this rush of air kind of enter my chest and as I exhaled, an overwhelming but wonderful thought entered my mind: that this run could be my new start – a way to shed off the heaviness and stress of a lousy week and reset my emotions to create a new outlook for the next week. Maybe it was the music I was listening to (or just my overactive imagination or quite possibly the endorphins setting in), but that thought nearly made me burst into tears, and ok I actually did get a little teary-eyed for a second, and I felt this insane gratitude for running and the opportunity to be out there alone which honestly, would not have happened (the alone thing) thanks to a very busy family day if it hadn’t been for running. Waking up early and going on a run was 100% completely for me and no one else. And maybe it sounds selfish, but I think after spending a week doing 87% of my tasks for other people, I needed a minute alone. It was just me and the intense beauty of the spring morning and the chance to have 40 interrupted minutes to rebalance.

Training Week #6

To make a long story a bit shorter, I ran the same course that six weeks ago nearly brought me to my knees unable to go further – and it was like it was a totally different path and me a completely different runner. I guess I haven’t noticed a huge change in my running ability day-to-day (a lot of days I feel frustrated that running doesn’t seem to be getting easier) but when I compare that first run with this one today, six weeks later, it’s almost incomparable. Yes, it was still hard today. I had to talk myself into not stopping a couple times. But there were also times that I felt like I was flying. When I finished and walked for a few minutes on our long driveway, I couldn’t help it. I just burst into tears. I had done something I never thought possible. Four miles, not dying, may seem simple and inconsequential to many of you, but to me, it’s a milestone that showed me I am getting stronger. That persistence and determination is paying off. That making time for myself and my running shoes is worth it. That I can do this.

I did it. And I’ll have to do it again and again and run even farther. While that scares me, today’s run was a breakthrough for me. I don’t expect the following weeks will be a breeze, but running out there in the peace and quiet of a Saturday morning rejuvenated me after a rough week – and I’m not sure anything else would have offered the same level of therapy today. Without realizing it or really even seeking it out, it’s what I needed so desperately.

This Week

Monday: 3 miles (after two 4-mile runs last week, I’m glad to cut it down a mile)
Tuesday: Cross-training (shooting for a HIIT workout in the a.m.)
Wednesday: 4 miles (will have to be in the a.m. since this day is crazy, crazy)
Thursday: Yoga or some stretching exercises
Friday: Should be a rest day but I’ll be doing my long 5-mile run (ohmygosh, this one scares me so, so much) today since I’ll be traveling all day Saturday – will also have to be in the early morning if I’m going to not chicken out and fit it in
Saturday: rest rest baby

A Few Quick Notes

-I bought these without knowing what I was doing but my running shoes (ASICS Gel-Cumulus 16) are as wonderful as I hoped. Cushiony and comfortable and I love them every time I run (now if only they came with wings to speed up my running…)

-Up to this point, I’ve only been listening to audiobooks while running outside (and usually watching something on Netflix if doing treadmill running) but on Saturday’s run, I took my friend Mel’s advice and decided to go for music to change things up a bit (besides my audiobook was so boring I was afraid I would just stop in the middle of the road unable to run at all if I listened to it) but instead of channeling my regular, ol’ playlist, I did what she suggests and tuned in to Pandora (put the app on my phone). The new, unexpected, sometimes unfamiliar songs were just what I needed for a little life in my running game. Loved this.

-I asked the question a few weeks ago about what to eat before running. I pored over all your advice. I’m finding I do better (with these little 3- and 4-mile runs) when I drink some water beforehand but don’t eat anything (for the morning runs). I feel like I have plenty of energy and since my stomach always feels a little weird after I run, I’m glad to not let that weirdness move up to when I’m actually running. That may change when I increase my mileage but for now, after my run, I drink a big glass of water and then after about 30 minutes or so usually go with a piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and a banana.

Did anyone else have a milestone week this week? Share (the good and bad)!

36 Responses to Training Update: Week #6

  1. zella says:

    I love that feeling you described. I find the best antidote for stress is getting in a good run. The resulting feeling is great. I’ve never actually met you, but I am so proud of you for picking this up and fitting it into your life as you continue this grand and wonderful blog for all of us loyal fans and juggle family life too. So much work, but so appreciated by many!

  2. Sara H. says:

    I am so glad to hear that you had a great running experience last Saturday. It makes it so worth all the effort when you have a good running day. Last summer I did a half and it had been several years and a few kids later since I had run a long distance race. It was tough training for me but the day that I did a ten mile run it went beautifully and I was so happy for all the months of work that I had put in. You rock to be able to do all that you do! Way to go!

  3. Camila Lipsi says:

    I could relate so much to your words! They are very supportive and have helped get through one more week running! Good luck!

  4. Hayley says:

    My only breathrough last week was surviving. I still got all my weekday runs in even though I had the most nauseating week in the history of all my pregnancies (I am just a few weeks in to my 4th pregnancy). I felt horrible, and my runs were a physical drag, but I got each one done that was in my plan. Whoo!
    I echo the fitness blender recommendation, but another free workout site with endless HIIT workouts (and other styles) is . My only complaint about her site is her outfits… she often has an abundance of cleavage, but her personality is pleasant and the workouts are quick and awesome. Great job on your 4 miler! And you will totally make it through 5! You can do this!

  5. Elena says:

    I second the videos on! There are so many to chose from! They have HIIT routines, you can pick out videos by length and the husband and wife team are right in it sweating it out with you.

  6. Stacie D. says:

    I’m so glad to hear someone gave you advice about Pandora. I meant to do that awhile ago. I used to try to be “productive” while running by listening to audiobooks or conference talks. But when I started listening to Pandora, I loved that I could crank it up and not have to hear myself breathe. 🙂 It definitely helped increase my pace and made it a lot more fun. Watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix has been the only thing keeping me going on the treadmill this winter. 🙂 So looking forward to the warmer weather to get outside.

    Congrats on your breakthrough! That is fabulous! Keep it up, Mel!

  7. Tiffany says:

    It’s so nice to hear other people talk about how tough running can be – wanting to stop time and time again. I’ve never been a runner and still to this day I literally huff and puff at about a mile on the treadmill and I don’t consider myself *that* out of shape. I think my main problem is that I just got bored?! You inspire me to push through though! I’ll have to stick to your ‘healthier’ recipes while doing so. 🙂 Do you watch your diet while training? I’d love to hear some things that you eat since you know your stuff when it comes to cooking! Keep up the awesome work!!

    • Mel says:

      Hey Tiffany! That’s a good question about eating. I’ve been trying to watch my diet a little but I’m not being obsessive about it. A few changes I can think that I’ve made over the last few weeks: I’m a classic breakfast-skipper (bad, I know). I’ve been trying to eat a banana and a slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter after I run (if it’s in the morning) and generally just try to add a bit more healthy protein in where I can. I’ve been eating more cottage cheese, especially for lunches, and pairing it with some type of lean protein, like chicken, and a bunch of greens and veggies (usually a loaded salad). I’m also trying to up my water intake and I’ve always been on the very low end of drinking water…another downfall. Overall, I’m not changing much…except for increasing my protein a little and I’ve also realized I’d rather run on healthy energy vs a belly loaded with tons of sugar so as hard as it is, I try to limit myself to one lil’ treat a day (which usually doesn’t happen, but hey, I am trying). Moderation in all things, right? 🙂

  8. Melissa says:

    Way to go! You’re doing so well. You’ll constantly be amazed at the things your body can do. That won’t ever cease to amaze you. This weekend my milestone was 20 miles because I have a marathon coming up in 2 weeks. I did it. I was nervous and scared I couldn’t do it, especially since it was farther than I’ve ever run and I haven’t been able to get to my shorter runs as much lately because of weather and the kids. But I did it! Yay us!!

  9. Mollie says:

    So glad it was a breakthrough, and not a breakdown! It’s so wonderful to have those runs where it starts to feel a little bit easier. Or those moments during a run where your body feels so strong and fast. Even if for only a moment. I’m the same as you – I don’t eat before my runs (as I usually go running right when I wake up, and I don’t have time to wait 2 hours) and I’m usually good. Even for 5 or 6 miles. But I do try and have a good dose of protein within 20 minutes of finishing. It really helps your muscles to recover and not be so sore later. I’m so excited to be running the Utah Valley Half! I’ve got a local run this Saturday (10K) that I’m pretty excited for too. I hope your training this week goes well!

    • Mel says:

      Well, this morning’s 3 mile run was more of a breakdown. 🙂 So I guess I should be grateful for Saturday’s success. Good luck on your race this Saturday!

  10. Deb says:

    Mel!!! You’re amazing. I’m so proud of you!

    It’s funny how in life when we truly listen to our Heavenly Father we find that we can do hard things.

    Keep going girl!

  11. CindyP says:

    I am SO hApPy for YOU!!!! and WITH you!!!!!
    What a breakthrough!!!
    I LOVED reading it!!!! Seriously made my day!
    Your description was perfectly worded, I had goosebumps!
    I bet you were smiling at yourself the REST of the day, secretly delighting in this happy little(big) experience that you really can’t describe to anyone… but content to just savor it. 🙂
    You DID it! aWeSoMe!!!!
    And the bonus: That ‘selfish’ time (in balance) really DOES give back directly to your family in such a good way…. a win/win! 😀

  12. I just have to say I love your shoes.

  13. Belinda says:

    One more thing to add to my lengthy post…Mel, I love you so much! I’ve never met you and most likely never will but I feel like you’re my buddy. Thanks for sharing you and your family with us and your bread tutorials were life changing for me, LIFE changing. Seriously, I love you girl!

    • Mel says:

      Oh, Belinda – I’m sorry to hear about your foot pain. I hope someone else can chime in and give you some pointers or at least a direction to go to figure it out. That has to be so frustrating. Good luck! (And thanks for your sweetness…means so much to me.)

  14. Belinda says:

    Does anyone have any advice or knowledge about recovering from Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome? Last summer, while running, my feet began to burn in my both of my arches and after my run my feet would go numb and tingly, and not a good tingly. I researched a bit and decided to take a break from running but when I started to run again my feet immediately began to burn. I wear orthotics, I researched the best shoe for an overpronator, I now know entirely too much about pronation and stability in a shoe and nothing is helping. I finally went to a podiatrist who recommended I stretch my calf muscles and the back of my ankle to release the pressure on my posterior tibial nerve. (I know more about the posterior tibial nerve than I ever wanted to know) Nothing is helping. 🙁 I’m really discouraged and afraid that I’ll never run again. I can’t even do a simple step class, I don’t even like step class but I’m trying to stay active until this foot disaster gets figured out. I’m pretty new to running. I used to watch all the runners around my neighborhood and I would think to myself, “They look so cool, I want to be that cool!” Good enough reason for me to start running so I started with Couch to 5k and though I decided I hated running, week after week, it got better. Soon I was able to run for 30 minutes straight and I started to hate it less and less. I felt like a runner and it was awesome! Forget about looking cool, I was full of energy and it was so exciting. Running is…cathartic and hard and so rewarding! I was part of a community that I loved, nodding to other runners as they ran around me, I’m a slow runner, the cute running clothes, the looks people would give me as the lazily drove by, I now they were thinking how cool I looked. I’m really worried guys and the research I’ve done so far is making me worry more. I can’t even walk a good distance without pain and were going to Disneyland in a month and I love Disneyland. Honestly, I’m not sure I can do it and getting a wheelchair will be heartbreaking. I need help. Sorry for this negative novel but I feel really negative and pretty depressed. Any advice would be so appreciated, thanks!

  15. Marci says:

    What a great post! My quiet mornings to myself are the ultimate therapy!

  16. Mel says:

    Thank you guys so much! It’s so refreshing to hear from others who “get it.” 🙂 I’m hoping I don’t fall off the wagon this week after having a pretty good experience Saturday (although today I’m having a hard time walking without looking like an old granny). One step at a time (literally!). I really do love all your comments, though. Thank you, thank you.

  17. Heather bell says:

    That’s so exciting!! Good for you! My break through was doing the sweatiest hiit of my life! It was a chair work out. Seemed easy at first but I was so proud when I finished:)

  18. Linda says:

    You are doing amazing with this!!! And I know you are inspiring others as you share your journey. Keep up the good work! 🙂

  19. Rachael says:

    And that right there is what I love about running! Like others are saying, it’s something that you can’t really explain to non-runners (hey, I like to pay lots of money to line up at a start line at 5 AM when it’s cold and rainy!) but it just is completely magical. Those endorphins are amazing, and I find that running is something that is so precious to me because it is MINE, and I am doing it just for me because I want to (pretty much the only thing I get to do like that with five kids around!). So glad you had that transcendent moment because that is really what makes running worthwhile. And what gets you totally hooked. 🙂

  20. Misty says:

    I’m a runner and I LOVED reading this…. it makes me feel really happy when a person new to running pushes past that miserable first part, which is oh-so-easy to quit during, and finds (with the help of those lovely, addicting endorphins) that running actually *can* be enjoyable! Like you said, the fresh air, the sun, the mind-clearing time away, the bouncy repetitious movement knocking out the body kinks, the toxin-removing sweat…. its all connected to a HAPPY PLACE! That exhilarating feeling, the one that made you cry? That’s called “runners high” and is a reward for your hard work 🙂 Keep it up!

  21. Kelli says:

    I absolutely loved reading about your breakthrough moment during your Saturday morning run! Those thoughts and feelings you have are exactly why I LOVE running. It is that “selfish” time that you get to have to yourself as a busy wife and mother, just you and your thoughts and the road. It’s the best 🙂 You will become addicted by the end of your training cycle!

  22. April M says:

    I am sorry you had a tough week, but I am so glad that it got better. Isn’t interesting when the Lord gives you perspective and peace when you are struggling. Keep up the good work. Good luck on your Friday run. Love your guts Mel.

  23. Pamela L says:

    this is exactly what I needed to read today. I am not a runner, never have been, but last fall decided to do something for me so I set a goal of a 5k…the Boston Athletic Assoc 5k on Marathon weekend to be exact. I am constantly feeling like life is getting in the way and that I will never make it. I will do it, I might just not do it how I envisioned. I won’t back out. I think I need to find outside alone time though at this point (all has been on treadmill). Today I quit my workout and I beat myself up for it. Could not get out of my own head…so tomorrow I will attempt again. Thanks for this post and good luck this week.

    • Mel says:

      Pamela – I’m rooting for you! I’m not a runner either – started this half marathon training without any running under my belt. Don’t beat yourself up. If you are having a rough running day, come here and check in. We’ll get you going again. 🙂

  24. Annai Smith says:

    Mel, I’m so excited for your weeks insight. It took me longer than 6 weeks to have that breakthrough, (not crying because of pain but because of joy). Running can be therapeutic. It’s a great chance to be alone with your own thoughts, to burn off stress, and to feel alive even despite the pain. This is a concept that many non-runners don’t understand when I try to explain it. That doesn’t mean that you always have great runs, in fact I rarely do. (I’m usually dealing with an injury). But despite my frustrations I still have this sense of accomplishment. Even though I’ve ran many marathons and half marathons, I still have those feelings of frustration and satisfaction with every run I do. Every step, every mile is an accomplishment. You prove to your mind and body that your soul is stronger than you think. You will always have frustrating weeks, but the point is to keep pushing forward. After years of running, I still have those moments when the tears flow as I run, sometimes from pain and frustration but also because I’m so grateful to feel those pains, those frustrations, those small triumphs, because I’m alive! So happy for you. Good luck on achieving your goal!

  25. Mary Sorense n says:

    I’m so glad you liked Nike Training Club! Thanks for the update. I always look forward to these posts. When I first started running 5 weeks ago, I almost died running 2 miles, and now those are my easy runs. I also have a hard time balancing everything. With church and kids and the daily grind, it is hard to find time for myself and not get discouraged. I am amazed at all you do for your family and for others. Keep on keepin on! You are an inspiration to many, including me.

  26. Jessica says:

    This past Friday was one week after my surgery to receive a pace maker. I had a checkup with my doctor. My parents were in town to help me with driving kids and take me to my appointment, since my husband was out of town. At my checkup, the doctor removed my bandages and cleared me for driving, showering….and running. I didn’t plan to run that day since it was a warm afternoon here in Boise and I’m a die-hard early a.m. runner. (Plus on the way home we stopped and ate a donut!). My husband, who knows me well, sent a text as we were heading home “You should go for a run!” All the reasons why I was off from my usual running routine went through my mind and my text response was “Yes I should but I’m going to eat a donut instead.” His response “Eat it after you run.” Now I had the bug. Like I said, he knows me well. We came home and at 12:15 I headed out for a run. I had a donut in my belly and was wearing long pants and a long shirt. I was way overdressed for a very clear and sunny 47 degrees. It was one of the hardest runs I’ve ever do e but one week after receiving my pace maker I jumped right back in where I left off and ran my 4.8 miles of my usual route. I was so proud of myself that I texted a picture of my Garmin to everyone with a text that said “Look what I just did!” An emotional milestone for me, as well. Now back to training for my first half-marathon in May. Good job this week, Mel!

  27. Jackie says:

    Great job Mel! I am so happy for you that you had that breakthrough! Hope you remain injury free and continue to love it. Also way to go on the pork and rolls. I seriously wish I had you on my scout committee! I am the cubmaster for our pack.

    My running felt good when I actually did it. Saturday was supposed to be my long run and I told my son we would have to get up early in order to do it since my kids had a piano/violin recital at 9 that morning and then a family funeral at 11. We were totally planning on it but then we stayed up way too late Friday playing with cousins that we haven’t seen in ages and then got a last minute call that it was our family’s turn to help clean the church Saturday morning and the thought of throwing a run in there in addition was too much. That’s ok though, it was a good weekend with family and we will just hit it hard next Saturday!

  28. Shauntel says:

    Running is the very best kind of therapy, isn’t it?! I’m a long time runner (although recurrent injuries keep my running fairly sporadic), and I love it so!

    I just wanted to pop in and pass along my favorite fitness (and cross training) secret: They have hundreds (literally!) of workouts – from HIIT to strength to yoga to pilates to kettlebells to basically anything you can imagine – and they’re so great. And they’re free!

    I am in no way affiliated with them, I swear. I just totally love this darling husband-wife team who has made working out in the (very) early morning from the safety (and warmth) of my home a reality, and I pass their name along whenever I can!

    Good luck with your training!

  29. Heather M says:

    I’ve never ever been a runner but this last week I decided to sign up for a 10k with my sisters in law. I’m super nervous and training starts Monday so I’m even more excited to read these posts. Good work Mel! I’m excited for running to (hopefully!) turn therapeutic for me!:)

  30. Jill says:

    Running is my therapy too! Four years ago, while training for my first 1/2 marathon, we moved from a city and state that I dearly loved to one I did not. I left friends and family behind and it was the hardest thing I’d ever done….but those long runs alone got me through it. There is something therapeutic about that alone time that strengthens body and mind! It is addicting. Keep going! You are doing great! You can do it!!

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