A big congrats to all of you for rescheduling your calendars and training your mind for your new running routine!  If this past week or a certain day didn't go as planned, well . . . . . welcome to this sport they call running.  It's all about balance and we just do the best we can.  Some days and weeks will go wonderfully smooth with schedules and weather and body mechanics and mental attitude.  Some days or weeks, we will just want to have a "throw away".  We live to run on those wonderfully smooth weeks, so stay with me and keep that head up!

Week 2 is here!  Our routine will continue with a 5 day walk/run week and 2 days of rest.  Our distances will increase a bit where it should be enough to challenge you but not overwhelm you.  And if you are bored or if you are on the other side of the coin and you feel like you are scraping by, give me a call or email and we'll work things out better for you!  There should be no hesitation or fear in calling or emailing me . . . not ever!  amywyrick@aol.com  713-560-4784

So our Tuesday chat summary this week focused on this . . . 

1.)  Having faith in your running journey and the power of mental attitude
2.)  How the weather is our best friend and worst enemy (and how to make the best of it)
3.)  The Method Behind Amy's Schedule
4.)  Review of Running Form and Pace
5.)  How Gatorade and Raw Eggs will Help Your Running Success :)

So first, if you've got time, take a look at Amy's RUNaway Blog on the left side menu bar.  It's just a couple of paragraphs that basically says "focus on the big picture" and "running major miles won't happen overnight".  You've just got to trust the "adaptation process".  Can I run 3 miles tomorrow without stopping?  Eh, probably not.  Can I run 3 miles without stopping before Halloween?  Definitely, yes!  Those muscles and lungs and heart and joints will totally cooperate with you if you ease them into it nicely.  So be nice to them right now!  And let your thought processes be nice too :)  Tell yourself that today is going to be a good run.  Remember the 3 rules of RUNaways 1.)  No quitting.  Last week, I actually put this in terms of "there is no quitting on the first day of a running program", but the same holds true of a run.  Now sometimes it is ok to stop a run (ie, major pain or just a really really bad day), but barring these events, your confidence will skyrocket once your mind pushes your body to go the extra (with good sense of course).  2.)  No talking or thinking negative body image or calorie counting.  We are running to help our bodies and figures, not to beat ourselves up!  We are not going to be able to run off every square inch of fat on our hips today, so lose that thought.  And what we ate last night after the kids went to bed is history.  Day over.  Done.  Equate running with a diet and it's sure to become a crap job and I'm thinking you'll probably quit.  So be done with the body critique when you run unless it's something like "Damn, my hamstrings are like steel!"  3.)  No whining about the weather.  Hey, it is what it is.  You run despite the weather and when those perfect fall or spring days peek over the horizon, you will truly say "Ahhhh, now I get it!"  Running in the elements is an experience and one that runners love to talk about after the run :)  At some point in your running routine you will run in hellish heat, suffocating humidity, "blow you backwards" wind, downpouring rain, and bitter "I can't feel my nose" cold.  The weather is part of it and it really is a wonderful part of running.  Don't let it get you down.

Speaking of weather, if we can't moan about it, how can we deal with it?  Ok, so let's put the weather in the top 2 categories that we are dealing with right now - heat and humidity.  Here's what's going on in that bod of yours . . . .
It's hot.  You are not even doing anything particularly active, yet your body is trying to preserve a consistent core temperature so that your heart and lungs and liver and pancreas don't boil over.  While your body is absorbing the excessive heat from the air, your heart is driving the blood through your body extra fast so that it can reach those areas to cool your body and dissipate that heat through breathing and sweating.  Put some cardiovascular activity on this heat and your heart is working overtime.  Your heart rate quickly goes way up, your breathing increases exponentially and that oxygenated blood of yours is rushing from cooling the core to fueling those working muscles.  Sounds ridiculously miserable, doesn't it?!  On top of the heat, we Houstonians basically live in a rain forest.  The humidity is at or near 100% saturation on these hot days which means that while our body is attempting to cool us with sweating, the air is so wet, that our sweat stays on our body like the candy coating of an M&M.  But take a deep breath.  We can do this and do this well.  Here's how to successfully cope with the heat . . . . We take it easy.  Remember, our bodies WILL adapt, but at a patient pace.  We keep our heart rate as low as we can when exercising (not to worry, it will still be working and getting so much more efficient).  We keep our breathing deep, relaxed and oxygenated.  We wear appropriate running clothes to draw the sweat from our bodies and we often run with a towel to mop ourselves off.  We drink lots of water and even some low calorie sports drinks to get our water, salt and potassium levels balanced.  Our body systems are building and getting stronger even in our heat training, so don't give up!!  And when the temperature dips or the humidity falls, your heart will get to spend less effort focusing on cooling your body and that strong heart of yours will give it's training that you've adapted it to right to your performance!  You can tell that even now, your body is responding positively every week because you are able to run further, but once a cool snap hits or the humidity dips, your body will reward you by going farther or faster or easier that you are used to!

Now with the training schedule.  Again, "Walking in a running program, really?"  And "What about switching my days around so I can take the weekend off?"  Or, "I want to burn super calories and try to run 6 or 7 days a week."  So here's the deal.  I purposely designed the schedule like this - starting with Sunday as a rest day, then hard endurance day, easy rest day, hard muscle day, easy active day, hard endurance day, moderate muscle day, easy rest day.  See the hard/easy pattern?  Do you know when your body gets stronger and better?  Yep, during sleep cycles and on rest days.  It's the rebuilding day when all of those stressed micro muscle fibers and joint tissues not only repair themselves but they repair themselves stronger because your body's primal gauge says "this gal means business and we are going to be ready next time!"  That's called adaptation :)  In addition, I've scattered longer endurance runs (those runs with no breaks on Mondays and Fridays) throughout the week.  These train and test our heart and lung capacity and make us think extra hard about endurance.  And then we've got some walk/run intervals that train our muscles generally on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  We give our heart and lungs a short recovery break to calm down during these workouts, but our legs are cumulatively moving and running longer than our long runs on that particular week building those muscle fibers.  All of these systems need a rest.  Otherwise, (and it generally won't happen on a run), you'll reach up to put those plates away in the kitchen and your calf will overstrain and scream "enough!" or you'll get out of the car or van and your hip will lock up and try to stay in :)  Anyhoo, that's the method to my madness.  I promise it works :)

Quick review - how's that running form?  Is your posture good?  Are you leaning forward just a bit, but not too much?  Is your stomach and abdomen engaged and strong?  Are your neck and shoulders relaxed and arms swinging gently?  Is your stride short and your pace easy?  (Remember, it's hot, so pace is extra easy.  And remember, no one gives a flip on how fast or slow you are running.  They can't tell; they are driving 35+ mph for pete's sake.  And if someone at a social gathering asks you how fast you run, tell them that you run for the enjoyment of the sport and not for time.  That will shut them up immediately.  Really, it will!)  Continuing on . . . . Are you planting your foot on the ground quietly and not stomping?  Is your breathing relaxed and can you talk?  (If not, slow down and take a deep cleansing breath.)  And can you answer yes to all of these questions 20 minutes into a workout?  Train yourself with good form now and you'll be oh so happy later.

Finally, oh geez she's finally almost done!, my goodies for this week - Gatorade and raw eggs.  This is not a new smoothie recipe.  It's simply this for those of you who were not at the run.  Gatorade (and most of the other sports drinks) are great on these hot days for a recovery drink.  It provides not only the hydration that we need from water, but it also gives us a nice kick of sodium and potassium that we've lost with the copious amounts of summer sweat.  Our muscles will refuel with that sodium and potassium to alleviate painful cramps and our blood pressure will stabilize with a little sports drink as well.  Keep it to one or maybe 2 sports drinks a day otherwise you risk the sugar content or sugar substitute concentration messing with that delicate tummy of yours.  And my opinion, keep it low cal  or "zero" - who wants or needs the sugar calories? Finally, the raw eggs.  This was just a sick little exercise that I use for running form and I won't do it again, but I handed out raw eggs for each runner to hold during their running portion of the workout today.  A raw egg keeps our hands from clenching and keeps our upper body relaxed (except for the stress factor that we may break one of the eggs).  And finally, I handed out super cool RUNaway Moms car stickers.  I'll have them in my car next time I see you!

Here's to a great 2nd week!  Call me if you need me :)