Playlist Thursday: Halloween

For this weeks Halloween theme I have two classics and something a little different for you guys! Please share your thoughts on the songs that I used or own recommendations as I`d love to know!

Something Old:

Title: Thriller

Artist: Michael Jackson

Side Note: It`s probably the number one, isn`t it?

Quotable: Night creatures calling, the dead start to walk in their masquerade

Something New:

Title: Laura

Artist: Bat For Lashes

Side Note: I had a really hard time coming up with something current for this theme. I asked Christine for help who advised me to look into the Bat for Lashes album as well the Florence and the Machine one. The song I picked is not really a spooky Halloween one and there might be more appropriate options for the theme but it`s about leaving something behind, a person or a character, and I think it fits the idea. What is your opinion?

Quotable: “And in this horror show // I’ve got to tell you so”

Something to Consider:

Title: The Time Warp

Artist: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Side Note: Another classic, as I said. It`s a great song. I wish the singing was a little “clearer” but of course it is supposed to be this way. Probably also a song that will appear on multiple playlists today!

Quotable: “But it’s the pelvic thrust // That really drives you insane.”

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How To Set Your Capris on Fire

One day after a nice long run I returned back home. The sun was shining and kept me warm as I set around the balcony and thought about the 10K I just ran. I sipped my water, leaned back and let the sun hit my face. I just had my post-race meal and didn`t expect anything as I was lying with me feet up and relaxing. My water bottle was safely placed between my legs. On a side note, I always place everything between my thighs, my bottles, my cell phone while I`m driving or the hair dryer when I wrestle with a strand of hair. Suddenly, I felt a stinging right on the top of my right thigh. I didn`t think much about it. But since I did not have anything else to worry about, I rubbed my pants and noticed they were really heated up. Sitting outside I did not expect the sun to play some physics experiments, braking it`s rays in my water bottle and burning a hole into my beloved new capris.

The sun on my way to college.

I ran two hilly miles at a pace of 9.49 today. It was not easy. Three weeks ago I ran more than 6 at a pace of 9.45. What a difference a bit of resting and changes in elevation can make.

Have a great start to the week!

 

Winter Base Training Week 1

For anyone who was wondering what kind of training I decided to do after I made my decision to base train from now on… I am using the Hal Higdon Winter Training Plan. I don`t know if I will be able to get every workout in as the days get colder and we will hopefully have some snow around the holidays but for now I think it is a good plan. Basically it consists of 5 runningdays, 1 rest day, 2 scheduled strength workouts and 1 cross training day.

Training Volume for Hal Higdon`s Winter Training Plan (via Training Peaks).

Hal Higdon Winter Training Plan (via Hal Higdon)

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Mondays: Easy & Short Run, Strength training

Hal says that this is the perfect day to go to the gym, run for 15 or 20 minutes on the treadmill and then do some strength training.

This week, I ran my 15 minutes easy. I did not get in my strength training but foam rolled a lot. It was my first real run in two weeks and the start of a period in which I really want to incorporate specific strength moves regularly.

Tuesdays: Easy & Long Run

This week the mid-week long run was 45 minutes. Again I ran on the street and I didn`t feel calf pain at all! I was so happy! I proceeded to foam roll after. On tuesdays I might want to run on some rolling hills sometimes (I live in a hillier area anyways) but it really depends on my schedule from college.

Wednesdays: Easy Run, Stretching & Strengthening

Wednesdays are always 30 minute runs for this plan with additional stretching and strength training. All I focused for in terms of strength were my shins/calves this week but from next week on I want to start the actual strength and cross training.

Thursdays: Tempo Run

On Thursdays, tempo runs, one of my least favorite workouts are scheduled. I did mine on Friday but for the sake of introducing you to this plan I will sum it up here. I know I should not run too fast for the tempo run but I really felt like pushing myself (hence the extremely slow pace afterwards). That`s why there is a sub-9 minute mile in there (I was so thrilled!!).

Fridays: Rest 

Yes, so the rest day happened on Thursday.

Saturdays: Easy & Long Run

In this plan, Saturdays are the days for the actual long runs ranging from 1 to 1.5 hours in time. The whole plan is based on time rather than miles actually. Again I didn`t do this workout on Saturday but on Sunday instead. This run was okay, my only option was to go downhill first and uphill second so my pace slowed rather significantly towards the end. I hated the last few minutes but I never felt bad. And besides it was a beautiful sunny day!

Sundays: Cross Training

And another thing I didn`t do yet: cross training. So, I had more rest than prescribed but in the end I had a fabulous week sans pain and problems and am more than happy about this. For next week I will start cross training as well as strength training and other than that shuffle my plan around if I need to due to the weather or my classes. But as most workouts are easy this is not really a problem. Finally, I will listen to my body and be smart about this training season/base building.

Some details for those of you who are just as obsessed with numbers as I am:  (the blue-highlighted line shows the weekly total/average; the first run is on the bottom, the last one on the top.)

 

Garmin Forerunner 405 – Review

One month ago, I got the Garmin Forerunner 405 as a birthday present from my parents. I have since taken it out for a couple of runs and found it right to put together a review now.

The Garmin FR 405 on my wrist. You can see the current time in standby mode. 

General thoughts:

The watch is $219.99 according to the website. The Garmin FR 405 is a light watch that I don`t even feel on my wrist when running. It is very accurate, beeps at my predefined splits, lets me transfer data wirelessly to my computer and measures distance, elevation or pace among others. The only downside I found was the size of the watch around my tiny wrists. On the run it doesn`t bother me at all, however.

Facts (according to the Garmin website): 

  • weight: 60g
  • battery life: 2 weeks in power safe, 8 hours in training mode
  • water resistant: yes (IPX7)
  • Optional accessories: HR monitor (some versions), Footpod (for treadmill running), Bike Cadence Sensor, wrist strap kit (for runners with smaller wrists) and others.

The wristband is a little big for me but my wrists are tiny.

The look:

The watch has a rather inflexible band, with a “regular” watch closure (where you pull one end through a metal ring, you get the idea). The band is further secured by a little plastic band  that sits in one of the holes along the watch-band. It also features two buttons: a Start/Stop and a Lap/Quit one. The bezel (the ring around the display) is touch sensitive and is scrolled like the wheels on an iPod. It is not very touch sensitive but you can configure this. It comes with a backlight that can be turned on by touching the bezel with two fingers. Also, there are the fields “time/date”, “gps”, “training” and “menu” on the bezel, that you select by lightly pressing your finger on the area.

Ready to charge.

The watch is charged using a clip that holds on to the watch and connects in the back. It is relatively easy to put on but in bad light it might be a little tricky.

Almost like a USB stick – it connects to my mac.

Finally, the watch comes with a sensor that you can connect using USB. It allows you to import data onto your computer (or mac) and export workouts or training plans onto the device.

Features:

Other than the AutoLap, AutoStop and automatical scroll, the watch lets you choose between training mode, a simple, invterval or advanced workout. You can enter a goal pace and have a virtual partner racing you, that will show you whether you are ahead or behind. Furthermore there are date and alarm options as well as customizable screens for working out.

You can even choose a type of running workout

For advanced workout you can set specific alarms that will inform you whether you are too fast or too slow. These workouts can only be created using Garmin Connect online or the Garmin Training Center application on your computer.

Interval workouts consist of rest and exercise times that can be configured on the watch and for simple workouts you choose a time or distance you want to cover and the watch informs you at the halfway point and stops at the end.

Some runners have problems with the touch bezel on the run but so far this has not bothered me much. I did find that it can be hard to navigate as it is not extremely sensitive but then again not slightly sensitive. During the run (or whenever else) you can of course lock the bezel. I usually view time, pace and distance on the screen and therefore don`t need to switch between screens.

For accuracy, I would say that the watch is in fact very accurate. I used it on the track as well as in the forrest and on the road. Of course if the course winds a lot, the distance might be less accurate as it does not receive a signal constantly. I had no problems running in the forrest and distances that I used to measure using the gmap-pedometer are very precise in my opinion. I heard of runners struggling with the accuracy however, especially when they measured a course with two watches and the pace or distance was rather far off. I understand that this does really make a difference – when for example the pace is off by half a minute.

For example, the watch measured my 10K race short, but only by a few yards. Normally races are expected to be measured longer as you often don`t run exact tangents.

Finally, you can save your starting position and use a compass to find where you went from, which can be helpful especially for trail runs. It also remembers the satellites it connected to last, making the search for gps signal even faster. On average it takes only a few seconds anyways – outsides.

Easily readable, even in the dark.

Analyzing the data: 

I really like to see elevation as well as pace, speed or routes ran on my computer. The numbers really help me with analyzing my runs as I tend to slow down without really noticing it. I also like that I have all of my runs at hand and can see monthly stats as well as subcategorize workouts in folders. I find that transferring data to and from the device only ever works on second attempt.

Over all, I like the Garmin Training Center app as well as the Garmin Connect website. I will write more about the different logging tools (including Dailymile) in the future though!

My final opinion: 

The watch is definitely not the cheapest but I am more than happy to use it. I started loving running a lot more now that I don`t have to run on precalculated routes. It takes a lot of the stress out of it. It connects extremely fast to satellites and works precise. You can analyze all of your data on the PC or on the watch (which is however not extremely handy). I like that I can use the watch in the dark, for interval and tempo or speed workouts just as well as for easy runs and have options to run on the treadmill or bike with it, if I get more gear. I do not like the wristband too much but as it does not slide around my arm at all while running and I could always put on a sweatband underneath, I don`t need a thinner one. In conclusion I think watch-to-PC (or vice versa) transferring is fairly easy after you set up both devices (I haven`t tried watch-to-watch yet) and also the charger works well though you have to make sure it is really clipped on. I think the watch is worth its money for beginners as well as advanced runners who care about splits, paces, intervals, warm-ups, cool-downs and what not.

Please leave any comments, experiences or questions below!

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For more Reviews, check out my Gear page!

Three Things that Helped My Shin Pain

Lately I really made a point out of not getting injured. But then I felt some pain down the inner side of my shins. After looking at my mileage history from this year, I saw that I didn`t really change too much in my schedule. So that`s when I got thinking and trying to find solutions. Namely: from now on I`ll be base building and strengthening. But there are three things that I incorporated into my routine that really helped me. They are the following: (disclaimer: this is what so far has worked for me and is my own opinion)

  1. foam rolling. I got a foam roller for my birthday and have since rolled out my leg muscles and whatever else may be hurting religiously. I really made sure to roll out all parts of my body as I figured that the calf “pain” (more like uncomfortable feeling) might be due to muscle tightness in another area. I also “rolled” out my foot using a champagne cork. I figured that out by chance and since have been using it. Works perfect as it has the big round part as well as a bit of a massaging effect with the different thicknesses.
  2. strengthening. To be more precise I was looking for moves that would have an effect on the front part of my lower leg/shin area as well as the upper part of my foot. What I found to work was the following:
    Lean against a wall and place your feet (you can also stand on one foot) around 20 centimetres in front of your hips. Now lift and lower your toes and foot. Do not lower it all the way to the floor! Repeat 10-15 times, 2-3 times per week (I`m bad about counting, I do this until I feel it in the muscles. I know. Not good. Don`t learn that from me.).
    Then, take a rest or continue right on. Place your foot on the floor. Lift it in a way that the inner part is lifted off the floor (think raising your big toe) and the outer part is still on the floor. Lower until big toe is about an inch off the floor and repeat. Again, do not put the foot down completely, that`d be too much of a rest. Repeat 10-15 times, 2-3 times per week.
  3. form. Of course I listen to my body but when I run and get tired that doesn`t mean that I have to stop right away. Instead I try to turn to an uphill or downhill or just some different terrain and remind myself to focus on my form. I used to be a pretty bad pronator and have gotten better about this. Whenever I slack I tell myself: head up, shoulders down, arms down, lift your knees, focus.

Those are my tips. Do you have anything to add?

Guest Post: Oldies but Goodies – 50`s & 60`s

Dear Readers, today I have a very special guest post for you from one of my favorite bloggers and the kindest girls I met ever since starting this blog. If you don`t know her yet, you should go and check out Erika`s blog right now! But before you leave, please have a look at the selection of oldies but goodies she created for you and me! My personal favorite is the last song, what`s yours?
Dear Erika, thank you very much, muchas gracias! 
•••
Hello there, I am Erika from Myrecoverydiary and ever since Anna started posting songs on her blog, we’ve started sharing music through our posts. Anna complimented my taste in music (which I think is a debatable compliment haha) and asked me to appear as a guest in her lovely blog and recommend some music from the 50’s and 60’s, so here it goes:
“Runaround Sue” by Dion and the Belmonts
This song will make you sing no matter how bitter you claim to be or how much you despise catchy tunes. I looooooove “Runaround Sue”, it makes me smile every time I listen to it and I’m sure most of you are already familiar with this gorgeous tune and if not, you will fall in love immediately. According to Wiki, it was recorded and released in 1961.
“White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane
When I first listened to this song, I must admit I didn’t like it that much but it eventually grew on me. Grace Slick’s voice is so unique it sticks and the lyrics are both weird and sassy; they were inspired by Alice in Wonderland. This song is a gem, enjoy.
“My baby just cares for me” by Nina Simone
Nina Simone couldn’t be absent from this list and this is by far one of her best songs. Released in 1957, it’s cool and jazzy vibe remains timeless.
“Runaway” by Del Shannon
I saved for last one of my favorite songs ever. This song will have you singing, dancing and smiling the whole 2:20 minutes it lasts and you won’t be able to get it out of your head for months! It is a “wo-wo-wo-wo-wonderful” song indeed, hope you enjoy it.

Ready for Cold Days

First of all thank you for all the tips on Thursday`s questions regarding running in the cold and base building. Friday I went to Budapest`s new Nike shop in the  WestEnd shopping center and picked up one thinner and one thicker long-sleeved running tops. For now, these should be fine, as the weather gets colder I will see whether I`d prefer more warmth all over or just a vest or arm-warmers.

I am not planning to wear those shorts but I found that you could see better how long the tops are than when I wear long tights.

The first one on the left is called the Nike Miler top and is made from a thin “dri-fit” fabric. I think it is great for around 10 degrees Celsius and for layering underneath a jacket or fleece once it gets colder. The color I chose is a pale red that has grey-ish undertones. This top does not have thumb holes, it is rather fitted but loose at the same time. I am wearing a size S.

On the right, I am wearing a slightly thicker sweater with a zipper. It zips up nicely and keeps the neck warm, it has small reflective parts and I believe the color is pretty well visible as it gets darker as well (I do need safety gear though!). This top has thumb holes and it fits a little tighter. I believe it is called the Nike Element Half-Zip top. I am wearing a size XS. This is probably worn best between 0 and 10 degrees when it is not too windy.

On another note my run yesterday went very well! I could feel my glutes after climbing some smaller elevations in the forest but overall I was very happy. Now I am working on a base-building plan that I want to use from Monday on. Any suggestions are welcome!

 

Is it the Weather? – Winter Base Building

Two weeks ago, I found it wise to take a day off from running because my shin is always complaining after running on the roads. Two weeks ago was also my last run. That`s right. I don`t feel injured though. Every day that I wanted to pick running back up, I felt the shin pain again. The day after, when I had decided to rest for another 24 hours there was nothing. I have since stretched, strengthened, rolled, iced and cross trained. What I still don`t know is what is wrong. Maybe it`s just a mood of my right leg or the weather? Some people always feel the weather changing and maybe my leg decided to do it as well?

Because of these two weeks and the amount of things I currently have to do Uni-related I think I will skip any race-related training and start building back a safe base over the winter. I know Fall just started but already the days are so much shorter and I do not feel safe running on my own in the dark after I return back home every day.

I am looking for a good base building plan that leaves me with some freedom regarding the days when I choose to work out (also because the weather will most likely not get better but only worse). I am also considering a new pair of shoes and I have been taking notes on any parks or forests that I usually drive by but usually don`t notice.

Well, the good news is: tomorrow I am going for a run and then we will know more! Until then, do you have any important tips for winter running that I need to know? It`s my first time!

I`m in the Mood for…

Gravelines, France

  • a long run in the forest
  • smoothies, every day – all day
  • getting my routines back on track
  • shutting off, just for an hour or two
  • jumping into a pile of crisp fall leaves
  • a mani-pedi at home and a long hot bath
  • my two presentations this week to be over
  • eating home-grown apples, pears and walnuts
  • burning a nice scent while getting ready for bed
  • indulging in pancakes and a hot cafe latte with my friend
  • going spinning, or swimming or perhaps to a Yoga class?
  • getting really, really sweaty – with sweat in my eye-balls even
  • the holidays – even though it will be my last year living at home
  • an evening with a book, a cup of hot chocolate and no regrets for staying up long
  • making this point shorter.

What are you in the mood for?

Fall Hues

 

 

 

I know, I know, I haven`t been around a lot lately. Uni completely overwhelmed me but I think I have things figured out now so, welcome back! For the weekend I joined my family at our summer house so I thought I`d just show you some impressions from here – fall has come and with it came the grapes, the apples and pears, beautiful skies and lots of color!