Q:Hi, do you have any breathing tips when running? I'm a distance runner but sometimes I feel like I'm going to die when I'm running. I tried to breath slowly, and in thru my nose and out my mouth, and I even tried a 3:3 pattern. Nothing works. Help!
Hello there! It’s interesting that you asked me this because I was JUST talking to a friend about lung capacity and running.
If you have tried several different breathing techniques and are still having trouble with feeling like you have enough oxygen, I would suggest slowing down your pace a bit. I know a lot of people follow very specific breathing patterns, but my typical method when distance running is pretty simple. I just try to breath as evenly and slowly as possible, ensuring that I’m at a conversation pace. When you’re running a long training run, you should be able to talk with someone next to you without feeling like you’re about to die. Now that’s not the case when running for speed or racing, as you’ll be pushing the threshold and if you can keep a conversation going that probably means you should be running faster! ha :)
Anyway, try running 30 seconds per mile or so slower on your next run. It could be that you’re trying to go too fast, and just need to slow it down a bit.
1. I have been thoroughly enjoying my rest days! Normally when I take several days off in a row I start to feel like I’m going to FORGET HOW TO RUN or something (which is silly), but knowing I’m going to be running 43 miles over the course of this weekend has me appreciating every bit of rest I can get. My body is appreciating it too, apparently, because that run-down feeling that I haven’t been able to shake lately is all but gone.
2. I’m almost embarrassed to talk about this, but whatever, I have to let my nerd flag fly. I started playing Guild Wars 2 and it is so stinking fun. I’ve never been really into any PC games before, I’m more of a console person, but at the urging of Scott I made an account and have been playing almost non stop in my free time. Most of you will probably have NO IDEA what I am even talking about, but if you do, we should totally play together.
3. Scotty’s car broke down on his way to work last week and we have been doing the one car shuffle ever since. This wouldn’t really be a huge problem for most people but mine and Scott’s schedules are SO DIFFERENT so it’s been frustrating. I have started to feel a little bit like I’m on house arrest, as I haven’t been anywhere but work and home since. I get dropped off at work, picked up, dropped off at home, repeat every day. I used to think I would totally love being a shut-in hermit but now I am not so sure. I am dying to go to a public place other than my office. Namely, the grocery store. We are running low on food.
4. Only two more sleeps until the STAGE RACES!! I am so excited. Trail running comes with so much less pressure for me, so I’m not really feeling all that nervous. I would say the biggest thing I’m nervous about is ticks…Three days in the woods at 80 degree temperatures is more of a WHEN than IF as far as ticks are concerned. I’ve only ever run trails in the winter time, and now that it’s getting warm out that means all the bugs and snakes are coming out too. I am the type of baby that will dissolve into a level 11 freak out if a bug gets on me, so I feel sorry for whoever will be performing my tick extractions.
5. I just sent an email to the head coach of one of our local Fleet Feet’s couch to 5k training programs. They will be putting a program on this summer and I would love to be able to mentor like I have in the past. I hope they want me! I love doing stuff like this, and doing it in the summer would be perfect since I won’t be training for any other big events.
6. Some of my trail friends have been trying to convince me to train for a 50k this fall. On one hand I think it’s completely insane and on the other I totally want to do it. I keep waffling back and forth in my head about whether to do it or not, but let’s face it, if all my running buddies are doing it, I probably will too. I need less crazy friends… :)
Hope you guys are having an awesome Wednesday! Now I’m off to go do some work :)
Last Week’s Mileage: 13 - 19 April
- 13.1 miles, 2:38
- Bridge Street Half Marathon, the one where I crashed and burned.
- 3 miles, 32:46
- Fleet Feet Boston Memorial Fun Run - This run was okay, but after it was when I started thinking about being over trained.
- 6.13 miles, untimed
- Trail run to get some experience on a tough part of the Viduta course, the Waterline trail. Posted about here.
- 1 mile, 10:45 (warm up)
- 3.1 miles, 30:44
- Cookie Dash 5k — I actually felt decently good during this one! I was hoping for sub 30 minutes but my legs just didn’t have it in them. Happy with the time though, as I haven’t been putting any real training effort in short distance races in a long while.
Total: 26.33 miles, YTD: 333 miles
A lot of rest days this week, but my body was desperately asking for them! After taking it pretty easy last week after the dismal half on Sunday, I am planning to take it easy this week as well— until Friday that is! With all the rest I’m hoping that my legs will feel lively and strong at the start of the stage races on Friday morning. I haven’t felt like that in a while and I’m ready for that effortless feeling to return!
Some scenes from my trail adventure this evening! I met up with a few friends to get some practice in on Waterline trail. It is going to be a part of the stage races we have coming up and a few of us hadn’t been on it yet. It’s a very technical trail that requires climbing up two rock walls, and then a loooong, steep hill back to the top of the trail. It was crazy, as trail adventures usually are, but crazy in a good way. Our run ended up being just under 6 miles in total, it was definitely fun, but I felt pretty fatigued from the start and never really felt like I fell into a steady groove.
I’m starting to worry that I am asking my body for too much. All of my runs lately, with the exception of the Oak Barrel Half, have been pretty cruddy. I just haven’t been able to shake the feeling of heavy, clumsy legs and a complete lack of energy. Of course, my first reaction to this was thinking that I am losing my running ability and that I need to run MORE. It took one of my more experienced running friends that I look up to pointing out that I’ve been training hard without a real break since beginning marathon training in August. I did the marathon in December, then took one week off and went straight into heavy trail training to get ready for the McKay Hollow 25k I did in March. Along the way to McKay I did SEVERAL races, including a 12 hour relay where I basically ran 18 miles of speed work all day. I have done three half marathons and several shorter races as well. I’ve been running long on both Saturdays AND Sundays to get ready for the stage races. I don’t know WHY this didn’t occur to me, but when I type it all out like that it’s pretty obvious to me— I am way over trained.
So. What’s the plan then? This weekend Scott and I have a 5k race. He is hoping for a PR and I am just running for fun. Next weekend is the stage races, which take place Friday - Sunday and will give us 43 miles total. After the 5k, I think I am going to stay off my legs (running wise, anyway) and hope and pray that doing so helps them to feel fresh for the stage races. After finishing the stage races, I am going to take a week off of running and I will be officially done with big races (there will be a couple 5ks and 10ks probably, but nothing that requires extensive training) until the fall.
As much fun as all this racing and training has been, I’m ready to run just for the sake of running for a little while. :)
Bridge Street Half Marathon Race Report - A Different Kind of PR
I woke up on Sunday morning and had a hard time finding my motivation. Scott decided to sit this race out because he still had some lingering knee pain after our half last Saturday, and he has a 5k coming up soon that is his main priority. 5am came far too quickly, and getting out of bed when your partner is still snuggled up in the blankets is really hard, y’all. I’m not going to lie, for a few moments I entertained the idea of just sitting this one out. It wouldn’t be the first time I considered quitting that day. I had spent all of Saturday morning in the sun volunteering at a duathalon, and then came home and ended up doing some pretty intense spring cleaning. Before I knew it, it was 5pm and the only thing I had consumed the whole day was a Greek yogurt at 6am! Needless to say, my race prep wasn’t ideal. My goal was to PR with a time of 2:15, but I wasn’t feeling energetic and doubted that it would be possible.
(Photo credited to Gregg Gelmis of We Run Huntsville)
(Photo credited to Gregg Gelmis of We Run Huntsville)
Can we talk about how hilarious my face is in this photo? I swear. I was trying to smile.
I think that was one of my most hard-fought finish to date. Things started to go south at mile 3, barfed up all my nutrition at mile 6, and then drug myself to the finish line with my personal worst half marathon time. So, SO thankful for my running family that got me through today and caught me at the finish line when I was more than a little dehydrated. You win some, you lose some! And I still got the bling… :)
Man, I have been going non-stop the past few days. There was the half marathon on Saturday, then I ran trails on both Sunday and Monday, and today I ran a short 3 miler at mom and then worked the finish line at a 5k!
On today’s run I could definitely feel the effects of running for four days in a row— something I don’t typically do. For the most part it was good, good mood and good weather, but I had a few aches here and there that definitely reminded me that I need to spend some quality time with the foam roller and my tennis ball soon.
After the run I headed over to the Double Helix Dash 5k. Remember how I’ve been mentioning that Scott has been helping his senior design friends train for their first 5k? Well, today was the day! I was so excited for them. Instead of running, I decided to work the finish line and ended up punching numbers on the timing system with my buddy Alex (how hilarious is his butt pop in that photo???). I had so much fun! Our running community adds so much awesome to my life, so I try to volunteer several times a year to give back and do my part in making sure all of our events run smoothly. Sometimes it’s nice to just be on the sidelines and watch everyone else do the hard work… :)
After all the fun, I came home, tossed some chicken and vegetables in the oven, and then devoured it all in about five minutes flat. I also drank chocolate milk out of my Spock glass. It was a successful day.
Oak Barrel Half Marathon: that one time I surprised myself with an unexpected PR
After a few weeks of lackluster runs and extremely low energy levels, I truly did not expect much when toe-ing the starting line of this race. My original plan was to run with a friend, Heather, who was running her first half marathon and typically held an 11-12 min/mi pace on her long runs throughout training.
(This photo and all photos with a We Run Huntsville watermark are credited to Gregg Gelmis of WRH - the matching singlets me and two of my buddies are wearing are shirts our local running group had made specifically for this race)
We arrived at the race location about an hour early to get our packets and find good parking. I spent much of the morning trying to locate Heather and was never successful. As we all gathered in the starting area I anxiously looked around for her more— she was no where to be found! Eventually I just decided to give up on my search and stick with mom for the time being. Ultimately our goal was to run easy and enjoy the race, since we have another half marathon coming up this Sunday and my plan was to PR at that one.
(Photo credited to my sister, Roo)
I took off at what felt like an easy pace and mentally prepared myself for the challenges ahead. This race boasts a beautiful but difficult course, with the crown jewel being a tough climb named Whiskey Hill. My friends had told me about how awesome this course was, and they were completely right on that! Throughout the whole race we were surrounded by sprawling fields of green. The only bad spot was just before making it to Whiskey hill.On the way there, we ran by what I can only assume was some kind of manure farm. It was a large field covered in brown sludge, cows crowded around a trough looking sad, and the smell was one of the most foul, rancid odors to ever assault my nostrils. Several of the people running by me nearly lost their breakfast; mom and I sped up the pace to get away from the putrid stench as soon as possible. After a couple of rolling hills, we made it to the base of Whiskey Hill. According to my watch, Whiskey Hill was about a 2 mile incline. It began gradually, and somewhere off in the distance we could hear Deliverance banjo music.
Slowly the climb became more intense, and I slowed to a walk. “No sense in pushing too much, after all, I’m just here to have fun,” I thought to myself. Just near the top of Whiskey Hill, the route cuts sharply to the left and the climb starts to feel like you’re going up a ladder. Before I got to this section, I spotted our local photographer extraordinaire perched on the side of the road… so of COURSE I ran up the steepest part of the whole dang hill JUST so I’d be at least semi-running in my race photos… Pride. It’s what gets me up hills.
Just before mile 5, I crested the top and thanked the Lord for flat ground. After running up such a steep incline, my quads were jelly. I stumbled on, probably looking like a baby giraffe, and gave myself a silent pep talk for the few remaining hills. Surprisingly enough, I felt good. I kept wondering when that all too familiar completely gassed feeling would hit, but it never did, even after running over the remaining rolling hills.
Around mile 8.5, the racers were rewarded for so much climbing with a looooooong descent. Aside from helping me be much stronger on going UP hills, trail running has made me much stronger going down them as well. Instead of holding back like I normally would (due to fear of falling down), I let my legs fly as fast as gravity could take them down the descent. I felt swift and strong, and when we emerged back onto flat ground I took a tentative peek at my watch. The last few miles were fairly flat, and I realized that if I pushed a little, I could PR.
Everything felt good— mentally and physically. I think this might be one of the first times in my life where I truly had the energy for a strong finishing kick. I passed several people while running toward the finish, several of them being local running friends of mine. About two miles from the finish I came upon Will and Laura. I was surprised to see them and wondered what in the world they were doing back there, as they are both extremely fast runners. I figured they must be taking an extremely easy day, and when I passed them I mentioned that I thought I might PR. They both cheered for me loudly and yelled out supportive words as I ran by— I can’t even remember exactly what they said anymore, but in that moment it was so encouraging and helped fuel me to the finish. (Turns out Will and Laura had already finished and were just running some cool down miles, haha. Thanks Will and Laura!!!)
(Do I look tired? It’s because I was)
Soon enough, the end was in sight. I rounded a corner and was greeted with the beautiful sight of a giant inflatable finishing arch. I noticed the clock, and immediately I felt a huge rush of excitement. I DID IT! I PRed! And it didn’t even hurt that much!
I crossed the finish line, received my medal and a bottle of water, and plopped down on the sidewalk. Normally I would go look for my family, but I was so tired all I could think about was sitting down. About a minute before me, mom had finished. She left me behind somewhere around mile 7 and I never caught back up with her— this was her first time beating me in a race and she shaved nearly 10 MINUTES off of her previous PR. I am SO dang proud of her! Scott, unfortunately, had a terrible race. Just after finishing Whiskey Hill, his knee blew out and he had to walk much of the second half of the race.
My official time was 2:21:14 (10:46 min/mi pace), which beats my previous PR by 1:36. Not a huge improvement, but I am BEYOND thrilled! For one, my previous PR was on a pretty much flat race, and this one was anything but. Also, if I could PR at Oak Barrel by a minute without really meaning to, what does this mean for my half this coming Sunday?? I am excited to find out. :) I loved every single minute of this race and am absolutely returning next year. The swag (we received a pull over, a hat, and Swiftwick socks in addition to our medals— talk about hitting the jackpot!) was awesome, the volunteers were great, the medal is one of the most unique ones I have, and the course was amazing! This half marathon is definitely going on my list of favorites.
Throwback Thursday: that one time my mom forgot about Halloween.
Oh man. Where do I even start with this? I’m the unfortunate one with the stuffed animals plastered all over my body. This was the year that our mom forgot about Halloween, so my sister and I ended up scrounging around for costumes at the last minute. I was dressed up as Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter, obviously.
Things of note in this photo:
- My cousin’s Statue of Liberty costume hand made for her by her mother who DIDN’T forget about Halloween
- My little sister’s strange “come hither” pose in her white undershirt and slip— I think she was going for ballerina? Her face though, y’all. The longer I look at it the more I laugh.
- I have a neon orange frog stuffed in my pants y’all.
- As mentioned before, mine and my sister’s costumes were totally made up with stuff we found around the house… which means these glorious camo pants were part of my normal wardrobe… (I say as I hang my head in shame)
I think the saddest part of all of this is the fact that Steve Irwin was my HERO as a child and I was totally proud of this outfit. Though you can’t tell it from the look on my face. I am clearly feeling slightly inferior to the HAND MADE STATUE OF LIBERTY COSTUME. When I posted this on facebook, my cousin commented and said, “I feel sorry for you just looking at this.” Yeah. That about sums it up.
- How is your day going? Mine is just swell, very busy today, but in a good way. I have noticed in the past few weeks or so I have been getting a steady stream of new followers— anywhere from two to five new ones per day. Where are you guys coming from? How did you find me?? Don’t be shy, say hi!!
- I think I am going to skip out on my regular body pump class tonight. I am feeling particularly fatigued today (hey, dear body, feel free to get your energy back any time now) and also happen to have a huge amount of classwork to catch up on. I’d much rather be lifting weights than sitting in front of the computer working on advanced excel functions… but I have a feeling my body will thank me. We have a half marathon this weekend and I want to feel GOOD during it.
- For this particular half marathon, I don’t really have any set goal. We are running the Oak Barrel Half Marathon, which is at the Jack Daniel’s distillery in Tennessee. It’s a favorite event among my running community, and not only do we all show up to run it, but we all bring food and have a big pot luck after the race. Running and eating, what’s not to love? Anyway, this race is going to be more of a fun, social event for me than anything. The weekend after though?
- We have ANOTHER half. This one is local— the Bridge Street Half Marathon. I know the area that the course will be on REALLY well. David (my friend that we did Delano with) is pacing the 2:15 group and I am really, really hoping to stick with him and PR. My previous best half marathon time is 2:22. I’m scared. And excited.
- It’s time for me to meet my honey for a walk and some ice cream. Life is good, y’all. Even when I don’t feel my greatest :)