Archive of ‘Refine Method’ category

Richmond Marathon Training: Week 3 – The BEST Non-Race Run

*Don’t forget to enter my New Balance Team Garmin-Sharp 890v3 Running Shoe giveaway!

I am turning a few corners in my marathon training. What a difference three weeks makes!

One corner I’m turning — and I honestly have no idea how or why — is my neck injury. This is the injury that forced me to pause my career as the best indoor cycling instructor in Jersey City. It’s the injury that had me modifying every single Refine class in the months lading up to my wedding. It hurt during every single run for the first three weeks of training, causing me to unconsciously press down on my neck throughout every run.

And then on Sunday, I finished a 7 mile run with Katherine and Laura and realized I did not press down on my neck at all during the run. Knowing it could have been a fluke, I set out this morning for a run (which I will discuss in great detail later in this post) and while the right side of my neck still feels different, it didn’t hurt and I didn’t need to press down on it.

I don’t know why it’s suddenly feeling better. It didn’t get better with rest (and I rested for a long time). It didn’t get better with cutting out impact activities. It didn’t get better during months of physical therapy (which I still do twice a week). But now, as I increase my running, it somehow is starting to feel better.

The body is strange. Also, I start acupuncture tonight, so hopefully that helps even more. I want my neck healed in time for this marathon and because my injury is in the muscle, there isn’t much else I can do (believe me – I BEGGED my doctor for cortisone and he told me cortisone doesn’t help muscle injuries).

Injury ramble aside, let’s get into my third week of Richmond Marathon training:

  • Tuesday –  42 min (4 mi)
  • Wednesday – 61 min on hilly terrain (6.18 mi)
  • Thursday – Refine Method
  • Friday – 40 min (3.8 mi)
  • Saturday – Outdoor Refine
  • Sunday –  80 min run (7 mi)
  • Monday – REST

Total Miles: 21 (keep in mind my actual weeks go Monday – Sunday, so these mileages are skewed but it’s easier for me to blog this way for some reason)

The Best Non-Race Run, Or What a Difference 3 Weeks Makes

You might remember that during the first week of Richmond Marathon training, I felt disheartened about a difficult run. It was also a very humid, very hot morning when I was first coming back from two injuries. It made me wonder if I’d even be able to keep training for this marathon.

I later realized I wasn’t even supposed to do that run yet. I read the wrong part of my plan.

Today was the day I really did have the run on my plan (the dumb way I write these posts means it’s not on the list above.. I should really change that) — and today also happened to be BEST run I’ve had since last year’s Richmond Half Marathon. It seems I’ve turned yet another corner in my training!

My plan called for 15 minute warm up, 3-4 miles at marathon pace effort (MPE) with 1 min rest in between, and a 15 minute cool down.

I knew during the warm up that this would be a good run. The weather was perfect, my neck wasn’t killing me and I felt good. The 15 minutes didn’t drag on; it felt totally fine and energized me for the rest of the run.

Jersey City Hudson River waterfront

Not a bad view

I’m trying to stick to marathon effort rather than focus on marathon pace. I need to learn what this effort feels like and what I can sustain for 26 miles to reach my new goals. The first mile was perfect. I ran it in 9:27.

Then I had my one-minute rest and I was daydreaming about how much I love running (seriously…) and somehow missed hearing my watch beep to tell me to start my second interval. I realized about .1 mile in and quickly sped up. As a result for me trying to make up for lost time, that mile was a little fast for MPE — but I still felt great with a 9:09 mile.

Another minute rest and the last mile went smoothly, in 9:19. I would have been able to do a fourth, but I needed to get home and I also didn’t want to overdo it just because I’m finally starting to feel good.

The cool down was great as well (unlike the last time I did this run and couldn’t even do a cool down, instead just stood at the side panting) and I finished feeling absolutely amazing – and much more confident about my marathon! The total opposite of the last time I did this run.

I’ve been loving marathon training so far, even with all the tough days in the beginning. But today reminded me just how much I love running. When I take time off for the winter and get more into Refine, I forget that I do enjoy running in the right conditions. Today’s run might have been my favorite non-race run to date.

I mean, how often do you miss hearing your watch beep because you’re so busy daydreaming about how great running is WHILE RUNNING?

I feel even more confident. Especially since I went ahead and registered for the 4:15 pace group yesterday. Yes, I did that.

In other news — I’m giving away a pair of New Balance Team Garmin-Sharp 890v3 Argyle performance running shoes (wearing them in image below at outdoor Refine). Go enter!

Outdoor Refine Method



DSB Giveaway: New Balance Team Garmin-Sharp 890v3 Running Shoe

For my triumphant return to outdoor Refine Method, I wore a new pair of shoes: the limited edition New Balance Team Garmin-Sharp Argyle 890v3 Performance Running Shoe. The shoes looked great and I received a number of compliments during the short time I had them on.

It’s a bonus that they performed very well too.

Outdoor Refine Method

New Balance Team Garmin-Sharp 890v Argyle Performance Running Shoe

And by bonus I mean the entire reason I tried them out. I needed to see how the shoes performed and I decided that I’d start with short, fast distances first. As a lightweight shoe, the 890v3s are very different than the thicker shoes I usually wear to run.

At the same time, I’ve been wanting to dabble in lightweight running shoes for shorter, faster distances and had no idea how to decide which to go with. When New Balance offered me the chance to try out their limited edition New Balance Team Garmin-Sharp 890v3 performance running shoe, of course I said yes. And then they asked if I wanted to give away a pair to a reader — so, we all win. Well, two of us win, and one of the two is me. Mazel tov in advance to the one of you who wins.

As an injury-prone runner who loves lightweight sneakers for cross-training but needs cushioning for longer runs, I wanted to be careful. Outdoor Refine includes about four sprints up a hill, at just over 100 meters, in addition to all the other exercises we do. This seemed perfect for trying out a lightweight shoe with more flexibility than a standard running shoe.

The shoes, despite my initial concerns that they were too big (more on that below) were incredibly comfortable. I felt light on my feet and more importantly, I felt FAST during those sprints. Despite running up a steep hill, I felt like I was running on air as I zipped past people.

I also felt completely comfortable during walking lunges, jumping jacks, deadlifts, moving ladder jump squats, fast feet in and out of the ladder and all the other Refine-y moves that are much better performed with a flexible shoe.

Edited to add: these are more supportive than the New Balance Minimus.

New Balance Team Garmin-Sharp 890v3


I haven’t gone on a run in them yet, but I plan to later this week when I have 30-35 min with 4x100m strides on my plan. I’d love to see how I feel during a short run with a few bursts of speed.

If all goes well, I will incorporate them into more of my Richmond Marathon training runs!

About the shoes

Why are they called Team Garmin-Sharp?
New Balance has once again been named the official off-bike shoe of Team Garmin-Sharp, the American professional cycling team.

The argyle design is very pretty. Why argyle?
To commemorate the third year of partnership, New Balance has introduced the Limited Edition Team Garmin-Sharp 890v3 running shoe, featuring the bright blue hues and argyle patterns reminiscent of the team’s cycling uniform, which earned them the nickname “Argyle Armada.”

Any other interesting tie-ins to the cycling team?
The shoe also includes a custom insert, or sock liner featuring the riders.

New Balance Team Garmin-Sharp 890v3

Cool. Unless you put your own orthotics in. Then, less cool.

What size should you get?

As for sizing… this is something I struggle with because every brand runs differently on me, and I size up for running which usually means my running shoes don’t work for regular wear.

New Balance shoes seem to run a little large on me and I was torn between two sizes. I ended up asking for the larger size, figuring my orthotics (should I choose to have extra support with these) would fit into the larger size better.

Check out the New Balance Team Garmin-Sharp 890v3 performance running shoes – if you like what you see, you can enter to win your own pair thanks to New Balance! You can get up to two entries.

New Balance Team Garmin-Sharp 890v3 Giveaway

(1) For one entry, leave a comment telling me if you run in lightweight shoes. I’d also love to know if you run lightweight for all your runs or just some.

(2) For one entry, Tweet the following:

I entered to win @newbalance Team Garmin-Sharp 890v3 argyle running shoes from @dysterious.

Then come back here and leave a comment letting me know you did so.

(3) If you have a contact at Twitter that can help me get my (extremely inactive/no tweets/no followers) name as my handle, you automatically win. Kidding. But let me know.

*I must receive all entries by Tuesday, August 6 at 12am and the odds of winning are determined by the number of entries received. Prize value is $109.99. No purchase necessary to enter.

They’re great shoes. Good luck!

**I received my New Balance 890v3 performance running shoes at no cost for review. All opinions are entirely my own.

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