2016 Goals

After I finished my 10k in October I was listless.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my running, so I didn’t do anything at all.  That’s not to say I stopped running, but I cut back significantly since I had no drive.  To me it seems like most people who get into running continue doing longer, more difficult races.  I was not – and am still not – interested in the next race distance after a 10k, which would be a half marathon.  It’s not to say I never want to run one, but right now I’m not interested in running for two and a half hours in one go.  That’s a lot of running that I’m just not ready to do.

Since my running was very sporadic I knew I needed some kind of challenge to keep my fitness up.  I usually run three miles three times a week, and my annual average for 2015 was about 30 miles/month, although I didn’t start running again until mid-March.  30 miles/month running three miles each time averaged out to 10 runs, which was more than doable for me!  I had  my goal!  30 miles/month would challenge me to run continuously throughout the month, but it wasn’t an unreasonable or overwhelming amount.

January proved a little difficult, so I did have to kick up my running in the second half of the month.  February is going really well, and I feel really great – and exciting – about running again.

 

Fabletics: How Well do they Hold Up?

I’ve written about my Fabletics obsession several times in the past.  Cute, affordable athletic wear?  Yes, please!  The only thing I was worried about was the long term quality.  Now that I’ve been a subscriber for nearly a year I can share my knowledge about Fabletics with everyone else who worries about whether or not it seems like a deal that’s too good to be true.

First of all, the Salar leggings and capris are amazing.  The fabric is thick, durable, and versatile – I use mine for yoga and cool weather running.  I have printed and plain patterns, and I will say the printed stuff does wear out a little bit quicker.  The knees on my favorite capris are worn from yoga, which I noticed after only three months.  The rest of my leggings and capris look almost new, and wear them nearly as much.  I haven’t purchased Salar crops, but I did try them on in the store, and they were a lot thinner, so be wary there.  The Catalina crop I have is really nice, however.

The high impact sports bras are far superior to the low impact ones in terms of quality and, obviously, support.  Medium impact is hit or miss, depending on the fabric.  I absolutely love the Joliet and Cope sports bras, but the rest have kind of been a bust.  I’ve already had to toss the ones I purchased early on in my Fabletics adventure.  In terms of usefulness as a sports bra, low impact ones are pretty worthless for me.  Medium support are great for around the house/quick grocery runs.  I use high impact for anything athletic I do (basically running and yoga).

“Performance” tops, made with athletic material, are pretty much the only ones worth buying.  I’ve had to throw out all the cute cotton tops I bought because they shrunk in the wash (and I didn’t even dry them).  Fabletics just came out with some new athletic tanks, which I haven’t tried yet, but I can definitely recommend their long sleeved athletic shirts.  Don’t bother with the Oula tank, it pills like nobody’s business.

In the same vein as their worthless cotton tops, I’ve been pretty unhappy with the cotton bottoms I’ve purchased.  I have a few pair of joggers that aren’t athletic material and they’re no longer, well, long.  Super comfortable?  Totally.  But they are shorter than I would prefer.  Fabletics cotton bottoms are superior to their cotton tops and don’t seem to shrink in the wash, but I never put them in the dryer anymore.  Air drying athleisure wear seems a little much, no?

All in all I would recommend the performance/athletic Fabletics pieces.  They hold up pretty well, and for the price you can’t really beat them.  Stay away from their cotton tops at all costs; they’re thin and don’t hold up.  Their athleisure sweats (tops and bottoms) are thicker and nicer, but I’m still not sure they’re worth the price tag.

TL;DR Stick to the athletic version of Fabletics clothing and you probably won’t regret it.  Anything else?  Purchase at your own risk.

Disclosure:  This post contains referral links.

10k Results!

It’s been a few months since I ran my 10k.  I ended up completing my goal (running the whole time)!  I also exceeded my expectations with my time, averaging 10:15 min/mile!  I had a great time and felt incredibly accomplished.  I would recommend the Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis race event for anyone who’s interested in large events.  Though it would have been nice if they had had some more music stations, there were plenty of water stands, and the course was marked clearly.

I slacked a bit on my running game after I finished my race, but this year I’ve set a new goal and have done well so far.  I’ll be updating soon!

10k Training Week 8: Feeling Good

Last week was my eighth week of 10k training, which means I’ve 2/3 of the way there!  I’ve been away from the blog for a while; here’s what I’ve been up to exercise-wise:

10k Training Plan Weeks 5-8

I only have a month left until my 10k, which seems really soon and really far away at the same time.  I’ve done really well with my running and am quite proud of myself.  I’ve followed my running plan (haven’t skipped any runs!), and my pace has been consistent with an upward trend.  I’ve had a few bad runs, but the overwhelming majority have left me feeling fantastic.

Samantha or Sam Post-5 Mile Run
Post-5 Mile Run Exhaustion/Bliss

With four weeks to go until my race I’m getting slightly nervous.  I think I may have overdone the how many weeks I needed to train – eight weeks probably would have been enough.  That being said, running is a huge mental game for me.  My legs are a lot stronger than I ever expected – I just need to make sure I remember that!

Samantha or Sam's 10k Training:  Week 8 Overview

10k Training Week 4: Push it Good

Looking back, I can’t believe four weeks have already gone by since I started training for my 10k race!  I’ve accomplished a lot in that time period, and I still have two thirds of my plan left.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to rock the Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis 10k.

Run 1:  3 miles @ 11:21 min/mi pace

My first run of the week was great!  My Saturday rest day combined with an easy walk on Sunday made my legs feel really fresh, so I decided to push myself to see what I could do.  I ended up running 1.5 miles, walking for a few minutes, and running the remaining 1+ mile.  Three miles in 34:04!  That turned out to be an average 11:21 min/mi pace, my fastest pace to date!  It was a great run, and I felt extremely accomplished.

Run 2:  3.01 miles @ 11:25 min/mi pace

After my stellar performance on Monday I decided to try and push my endurance a little bit more on Wednesday.  I went a little  slower and ran two continuous miles!  I walked for a few minutes, then finished out my three miles strong.  Another great run, another great feeling!  Running two miles was a little tougher for me, so I definitely had to play some mind games with myself.  I told myself I would run for a mile, then another five minutes.  Since I was almost to two miles I needed to go for it, I told myself.  Sometimes that’s what you have to do.

Run 3:  4.01 miles @ 11:03 min/mi pace

My long run of the week was incredible.  The theme of the week seemed to be endurance, and I couldn’t let myself down on my last run.  I ran all four miles without any walk breaks and averaged my fastest time yet!  What an amazing feeling – I’ve never run four miles straight without any walk breaks.  I know I’m going to reach my goal of running my entire 10k in two months, and I couldn’t be more excited to continue my training!

Yoga

I continued with my yoga practice this week as well.  Tuesday was all about stretching out running muscles, while Thursday was full of deep stretches.  It was just what I needed.  I can definitely tell that yoga has helped the performance of my muscles, and I intend on keeping it up.  I’ve been trying to incorporate more yoga into my weekly routine but haven’t been too successful so far.  Four weeks of running and yoga has been great to me.

Samantha or Sam's 10k Training Week 4 Progress
Pace is on the left, while run number is on the bottom

Here’s a cool little graph I’ve been keeping with my min/mi pace.  I’ve normalized the times so they don’t include any warm up or cool down walks.  My Friday runs are consistently my fastest runs, while I seem to take things easier on Wednesdays.  While it seems silly, seeing this information laid out makes me that much more excited about running!  My progress has been better than I imagined after only a month.

I’m very proud of myself.