I just seem to keep going MIA lately, don’t I? To be honest, I’ve been busy with after-work plans lately and just don’t really have the time to blog by the time I get home. So what have I been doing?
Well, simply spending more time with friends and my brand new Canon PowerShot S100!
I’ve been in the market for a new camera because my old cheapo Canon point and shoot is literally being held together with super glue and tape. I really wanted to purchase a DSLR because I wanted increased control over my shots and amazing photos, but I also wanted a point and shoot for portability. Enter the S100. It’s nominally bigger than my old camera, but has all of the major functions I was looking for in a DSLR, namely control over aperture, shutter speed, wider ISO ranges, manual focus, and the list goes on.
When I received it on Friday, I only had time to take it out of the box before heading out to dinner with Quynh. Because of such, I kept my camera on Auto for the meal. Despite not using the custom functions and relying on Auto, I can already tell that this camera takes photos a million times better than my old cam, especially in dimmer lighting.
I think I’ve gotten the hang of all of the manual functions, so I can’t wait to test it out over the next couple of weeks during my meals for Denver Restaurant Week (the tastiest couple of weeks in the year)! Either way, I’m spending the rest of the afternoon being a camera nerd
I’ve been doing a poor job with getting myself back on a training schedule, for my upcoming races. I’ve been doing the short, easy runs and the shorter speed runs, but I hadn’t been able to drag myself out for my long runs…until today.
I wanted to get in between 6-8 miles and figured I would aim for the more manageable 6 and then go from there depending on how I was feeling. The longest run I’d done since my half was 4 miles, so I took it very very slow. Well, I’m pleased to say that I ended up covering 7 miles with a half mile cool down, and I felt amazing. It was the first run since my half that made me feel good and made me realize that I enjoyed running.
Speaking of training plans…
Ever since my Surf City Recap, I’ve been receiving a lot of questions about training plans from new runners. If you haven’t read before, I started running this past October (2011) when I agreed to sign up for a half marathon with Thao in Portland for May 2012. Prior to this, I had only run a maximum continuous distance of 1 mile back in high school so that I didn’t fail PE. True story. It also took me a full 12 minutes to finish that mile, which was the cutoff to pass the running portion of the fit test. I did play tennis at the varsity level, but stopped when I got to college.
I thought it would take me the full 8 months to train for the half marathon in May, so I started out VERY conservatively to avoid injury and to build up my mileage at a rate that I could easily adapt to. I used the 6 month half marathon training plan from Toronto Women’s Runs because it allowed me to start running with pretty much no base mileage since the plan was built to create a base while you trained. I believe I followed this plan for about 1.5 months.
Why not even 2 months? I know that some people might not agree with changing plans mid-way and believe in the “if it ain’t broke…” mentality, but it just doesn’t work for me. 2 months into the program, I was no longer feeling challenged and wanted a more ambitious plan. Around this time, my long run was already up at about 9 miles…..with over 6 months before the half. I knew I would be bored and burnt out, so that was when I signed up for the Surf City Half Marathon and sought after a new program.
I tinkered around with Hal Higdon’s plans, but I didn’t like it because, as a beginner, I like being told exactly how fast I need to be running each run. I can see myself using this in the future as I become more experienced, but not right now.
After a bit more searching, I landed on the page for the Runner’s World SmartCoach. I didn’t have a previous race time to put in, so I played around with 1 mile times and their corresponding race plans until I found one that seemed to fit with my current ability. [I input my 1 mile "race" time at 9 min, which gave me a plan to finish a half in 2:16:xx.]
Alas, I found the perfect training plan for me. Here’s what I love about SmartCoach:
- It tells you how fast to do every single run. This might be a turnoff to some, but I loved it and used it as a baseline upon which I could run faster if I wanted.
- You can choose how intense you want your schedule to be. I’ve been sticking with moderate so that I only have to run 4 days a week.
- They form your schedule based off of the mileage you’re doing right now.
- It’s not a “strict” plan that follows a set number of weeks. You put in when your race day is, when you want your long runs, and then it builds your plan. It doesn’t matter if you have 2 weeks or 9 months.
-You can tweak your plan as many times as you want until it fits what you need and what you can commit to.
Overall, you should pick a training plan that works for you (and consult with a professional if you have health concerns), but SmartCoach is the training tool that I suggest to all of my friends and co-workers if they’re feeling overwhelmed by the plethora of programs out there. Good luck!
P.S. Here’s a funny video to watch for all you runners out there. Let’s just say it’s made me a lot more aware of how much I talk about running stuff to non-runners because I’m guilty as charged bahahaha
Question of the Day: Anything fun this past weekend?