Tag Archives: training

Toronto Goodlife Marathon Training: Week 4

9 Mar

Somehow the magic of week 3 managed to stick around for another week – I had another solid week of training with only a slight upset to the schedule.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Unplanned rest – had a ridiculous incident which prevented me from completely my scheduled 10 miles.

Wednesday: 8 miles am / 5 miles pm (both around 9:30 pace)

Schedule said 5 but I knew I needed to make up for some of the missed miles. I decided the best way to get that done was by doing a double.  Kept the pace very easy for both runs.

Thursday: 8 miles on the treadmill, 9:15 pace

I had considered doing 10 to make up the last 2 missing miles but I ran out of time before work.  Decided that being 2 short for the week wasn’t a huge deal.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 5 miles – 9:45ish pace

Ran with someone for the local St. Patrick’s Day themed race and had SO much fun!  It was very crowded at the start (we started too far back) and it’s a hilly little race, but I had a blast.  I also had a lot of fun bar hopping afterwards. Hashtag balance.

Sunday: 17 miles – 8:45 pace

Ended up having an excellent long run despite some very heavy legs at the beginning.  Moderately hilly route and still only saw two miles over 9 minute pace.  It was around 30 degrees for this one and it is really sad how warm it felt.

Having two successful long runs in the past two weeks has really helped my confidence level.  I was definitely on the struggle bus for the first few miles yesterday but before I knew it, I had 11 under my belt and the thought of 6 more seemed completely manageable.  I was surprised at how quickly the run went.  These are not typical thoughts or feelings for me during a long run so I’m considering this to be a good sign.

8 weeks to go!

Total: 43 miles

Toronto Goodlife Marathon Training: Weeks 2 and 3

2 Mar

Life has been fairly hectic lately (lots of work.  lots and lots of work.) and I never got around to posting a training update last week.  Combining weeks 2 and 3 presents an opportunity for some swell juxtaposition so let’s consider it an intentional literary device rather than pure laziness.

Without further ado, weeks 2 and 3:

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 8 miles on the treadmill, 9 minute pace

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Unscheduled rest.  Legs still feeling like poo from the previous week’s long run disaster so I decided to move Thursday’s run to Friday.

Friday: 8 miles very easy on the treadmill, 10 minute pace

Saturday: 6 miles very easy on the treadmill, 10 minute pace

Sunday: #FAIL

This was supposed to be the Lake Effect Half Marathon with Britt and Laura.  I had planned on running about 2 miles as a warmup and then the race.  The race is a double out and back in a park in Syracuse, and is always a bit of a crapshoot given that it’s February.  In Syracuse.

However, no fresh snow had fallen the morning of the race and I expected the parkway to be fairly clear.

onondaga-lake-parkway-lake-effect-half-marathon

Yeah, about that.

If I had my Yaktrax with me, I would’ve run (slowly – this wouldn’t have been a day for racing).  If I hadn’t had such a disastrous run the previous week reminding me how hard it is to run on snow, ice and slush – I would’ve run.  But neither of those things were going to work in my favor (I live about 40 minutes away from the park so driving home to grab my ‘trax quickly would not have been a viable option).

I decided to not run the race.  It didn’t feel good but I knew it was the right call.  I knew that I was only risking injury by running, even slowly.

If I was a little bit more committed, I would’ve abstained from booze brunch after and hit up the gym to get my miles done on the treadmill.  But I am me, and I am not that committed.

better-than-running

Hanging with these ladies > running 13 on a treadmill.

Total: 22 miles (yikes.)


 

I thought about running on Monday and trying to make up the missed miles, but decided to just get back on track with the plan.  A lot of this had to do with the fact that my calf and hip were still tight and bothering me a bit.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 6 miles on the treadmill, 9:20 pace.

Wednesday: 8 miles on the treadmill, 9:25 pace.

Thursday: 6 miles on the treadmill, 10 minute pace.

Quick lower body strength training circuit (single leg squats, donkey kicks, wall sits, clamshells).

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 16.5 miles, 8:25 pace.

BALLER long run.  It was cold as hell (-2 real temp at the start) but for some reason, my legs were just clicking.  I had some stomach issues so it wasn’t all perfect; I couldn’t choke down any fuel on the run because of it.  That aside, everything else felt great and it was very nice to run on clear pavement and get into a good rhythm.  Very thankful for fun and fast friends to chase around for 2+ hours in the cold!

Sunday: 6 miles on the treadmill, 10 minute pace.

Strength training: bench press, biceps, triceps, fire hydrants, plank variants, single leg squats, bridges

Total: 42.5 miles


This winter has caused me to do a ton more treadmill running than I have ever done in the past, but it’s honestly working well for pace control reasons.  I have no problem setting that thing on 6.0mph while I zone out watching Netflix for 60-90 minutes.  It’s nice and comfortable, and it’s kind of fun.  If I was running outside, I would have a very tough time keeping my pace that easy.  I know I am being somewhat aggressive with my mileage increases so I feel it’s important to really keep my non-workout runs at a very easy pace to allow my body to adjust to the miles without the added load of a more aggressive pace.  So far I think it’s been helping; we’ll see how it goes as the weeks go on.

Toronto Goodlife Marathon Training: Week 1

17 Feb

Week 1 in the books!  Here’s how it shook out.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 8 miles on the treadmill.

Wednesday: Rest (intended to cross train, but work got the best of me)

Thursday: 9 miles on the treadmill.

Friday: 3 miles on the treadmill / 30 mins elliptical.  This was supposed to be purely cross-training but I just wanted to run.

Saturday: 13 miles of misery // 9:07 pace.

I went outside for this bad boy and man, that was a mistake.  The roads were plowed but the shoulders were still snow-covered.  It was pretty windy, so there was a lot of drifting snow in the road.  Super slippery – felt like running on sand.  Between the wind and the road conditions, it felt almost impossible to power myself forward at times.  My knee felt awful; my calves, quads and hip flexors felt overworked and very sore.  Even though the pace was modest, the effort was high.  Would’ve been better to stick to the treadmill or indoor track for this one.

Sunday: 5 miles super easy on the treadmill.

Total: 38 miles

I hit the hot tub after 5 recovery miles on Sunday and I think the combination of the two really helped my legs.  That and I was in full on compression gear for about 24 hours straight (doing Valentine’s Day right, oh yeah).

This was a slight bump in overall mileage (I’ve been hanging at around 30-33 for the past few months) and I kept the paces modest to make sure I’d be able to handle it.  Thankfully I’m feeling good and excited to be back in real training mode again.

Winter is definitely rearing it’s ugly head and I think I finally realized I have to be smarter about the long runs.  I don’t mind bundling up and facing the cold, but if the road conditions continue to be this bad, I need to take it inside.  I won’t be able to hit paces and I’m putting myself at risk for injury.  It sucks, but it’s also what I asked for by signing up for a spring marathon.

How many more weeks until spring?!

When Faster Isn’t Better

16 Feb

As I mentioned last time, there are a few things I am focusing on during this 12-week training cycle for the Goodlife Toronto Marathon. Today, let’s talk about #2 – less speed, more marathon pace.

I’ve decided to follow the Pfitzinger 12/55 plan from Advanced Marathoning – 12 weeks long, peaking at 55 miles, for those not well versed in PfitzSpeak. One of the main things that drew me to this plan was the focus on marathon pace (MP) miles during the long runs. The 12/55 also has very little true speed work in it; I’d say 75% of the quality miles are in the marathon pace – tempo pace range. The VO2 max work is all specified to be run at 5K pace and no faster, and the intervals are on the longish side – generally 1000m-1600m.

This is a vast difference from the training I have followed in the past, and something that I hope in turn makes a vast difference come race day.

Previously, I was doing nothing but slow, time on your feet style long runs with one speed workout per week. The workouts would alternate between a tempo, long interval, and short interval workout. We would do a tempo run maybe once a month; all the other workouts were legit, gut-busting speed workouts. This started at the very beginning of the training cycle, so anywhere from 18-22 weeks out depending on when your goal race was (so, no periodization principles being applied). We were also encouraged to run them as fast as possible – and maybe that was the real problem. On any given week, I was running workouts at speeds much faster than 5K pace, and then the rest of the time, I was slogging along at a 10-10:30 minute pace.

The short intervals also gave me a ton of problems with my hamstrings. I blame this on poor form and not enough of a warm-up to properly execute the fast stuff. My body just seems to break down once I push down into the 6:1x territory, but I also think that a 10 minute warm-up prior to running intervals isn’t sufficient for me. My muscles frequently felt stiff and tight and I would always end up with a minor tear in one, if not both, of my hamstrings.

I would then continue to run through the hamstring issues because again, we were encouraged to do so. Taking rest days meant you weren’t fully committed, that you were weak. If you felt like you were injured, you still run – just go slower. 6 days a week or GTFO.  Every training cycle turned into 12-16 weeks of injury mitigation.  I never felt 100%.

If I thought the speed work was doing anything for me, I would put some time and energy into figuring out how to do it without getting injured. And when I decide to focus on the 5K (spoiler alert: I kind of want to do that this summer), I will. Longer warm-ups, targeting specific paces for the intervals rather than essentially racing them all out, etc. I’ll play around with all of that. But after doing a lot of reading, I just don’t think those are the right workouts to be doing for marathon prep.

The final thing that drove the principle of specificity through my thick skull was this post that kept popping up in my Twitter feed about a month ago. An interesting read for many reasons, but the one thing that really stuck with me was the idea that workouts with paces closest to your goal race pace are the most important. It seems completely obvious that a 5K specialist would be wasting their time running a lot of marathon pace workouts, so why has it been so hard for me to understand that running a lot of 5K (or faster) pace workouts isn’t going to help me run a good marathon?

I realize that it may take a few cycles before I see the results that I want. I am still hopeful that even after a short cycle, the combination of MP miles and long runs with reduced stopping will prevent the epic crash and burn that has been the trademark of my marathoning as of late.

A New Race and Some Training Goals

9 Feb

After every sub-par marathon I’ve run, my response has been largely the same. It took me a while to realize this, as I have a tendency to get stuck in the subtleties, the emotion, the here and now. My immediate feelings about each marathon I’ve run over the past 3 years have been very different but my behavior? My behavior has been 100% the same.

It usually starts with the swearing off marathons forever – or at least for a while – until I can achieve some arbitrary standard in another race distance, some sort of marker that will tell me I’m not crazy for thinking I can BQ. This is followed by a week or two of grandiose self-pity where I tend to abuse my Amazon Prime account and get back on a first-name basis with the clerk at the liquor store. Then comes the crazy finger pointing (you know, if only my dog hadn’t been up whining the night before that last 20 miler, I might’ve slept better and had a better run and therefore would’ve nabbed that BQ time, it’s all my dog’s fault!), followed by the more realistic finger pointing (more stretching, foam rolling, core work, hydration – did you really commit 100%?), then the realization that I really miss training for a marathon. Finally, the recommitment to wanting to run a BQ marathon time, soon to be followed by signing up for a goal race after a ton of time spent on marathonguide.com, findmymarathon.com, and random googling for blogs and race reports/reviews. Then it’s MORE. More more more. More miles, more speedwork. Better, faster, stronger.

But always the same training program. Always the same training philosophy – that more is better. That miles in = time out. That if 25 miles a week gets me a 3:45, then 45 miles a week should get me a straight up walk in the park <3:35.

I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on this over the fall and winter and I realize I am the absolute definition of insanity. Why do I continue to do the same thing and expect different results?

So here’s the part where I admit that I have signed up for a spring marathon and I have every intention of training hard and hoping that puts me in the realm of a BQ time. I’ll be running the Goodlife Toronto Marathon on May 3rd, but the process of getting there WILL be different than it has been in the past.

After a lot of analysis of past training, and knowing that a complete overhaul of anything isn’t likely to bring success, I’ve chosen to focus on 3 key things to improve upon during this short training cycle. Because I am nothing if not verbose, I’m going to write about them separately; however, I intend to do the following:

  1. Be smarter about long runs
  2. Less “speed” and more marathon pace work
  3. Focus on nutrition

————————–

So, let’s get into #1.

I’ve been running for a little over 5 years now, but it took me at least 4 of those years to learn to love the long run. For years, I would do every single run as scheduled except for the long run. Skipping long runs was the hallmark of every marathon training cycle for me. After meeting a great bunch of people through my running group and becoming intrinsically more committed to training, showing up for long runs became much less of an issue. Given my history, I counted that as a huge win. And it was.

But, to get to where I want to be, I’m not sure it’s enough. A lot of the long runs, while extremely fun, were at odd paces and included a lot of stops. Now, let me be clear that I am a firm believer in a “time on your feet” type of run, and that especially for a long run, sometimes relaxing and getting the time in is 100% beneficial. That isn’t the part that concerns me. What does concern me, however, is the stopping.

I have a read a lot of posts where the blogger in question brags about a 20 miler at <insert fast-ish pace here> via a Garmin shot, but then goes on to mention that she stopped at 72 water fountains, stopped at the car to eat something, stopped at 891 red lights, etc. I’ve always rolled my eyes and honestly said some pretty shitty things about that type of training. But then … I realized I am 100% guilty of it myself.

A lot of our group long runs involve meeting at a certain time, then looping back to pick up others, then heading out on a 60 minute route, stopping to then figure out where to go next, bathroom breaks, water bottle refills, etc. Now a lot of this is necessary break-age on a long run – if I have to poop, I’m going to poop. Not trying to deny anyone from responding to nature’s call. But when you have a group of 10ish people and they all have various needs, the breaks can really add up.

I went back and looked at some of my long runs in Garmin Connect, and active time vs total time occasionally varied as much as 20-30 minutes. That is a hell of a lot of down time.

Again, I don’t think this is a totally bad thing. And not all of my long runs have been like this. Many of them have been solid, at reasonable for me paces, with limited to no stops. But there was never any rhyme or reason to it. And 30 minutes of stopping during a 2.5-3 hour run is excessive, any way you slice it. I think that running long runs like that is not going to get me to a BQ time and it’s something I want to work on.

So my plan is to, well, plan. Plan a bit better for the long runs. I don’t want to not run with friends anymore, so I just need to have logistics figured out going in rather than flying by the seat of my pants. I don’t intend to completely eliminate the time of your feet style long runs either; I fully believe there is a place for those in any training plan. I just want to make sure that they are not the bread and butter of my training plan.

Part of addressing the long run issue will also include some marathon pace miles. But as I promised earlier … more on that next time.

A Training Update

31 Dec

Here we are, in the dwindling hours of 2014, everyone and their mother penning their 2014 year in review posts and eagerly hitting submit.  Over here in the upstate runner tundra land?  Well, the absolute last thing in the world I want to do is look back at 2014.

I suppose I will.  Eventually.  Maybe even tomorrow?  But for now, an update about what’s been going on the past few months.

The last time we talked, I had just run the Empire State Half and was feeling relatively cheerful about life.  What I didn’t mention was that in the few weeks between the Lehigh full and Empire, I had been dealing with some strange pain in my inner knee.  (Strange as in, the location and type of pain is atypical and difficult to diagnose.  The pain is not strange to me, because it has been a come and go type of thing since fall of 2012 – it’s actually the same pain that made me drop from the Empire full that year.)  I had hoped it would ease up on its own, and it did – and then I raced on it.  And it was back.

Back with a vengeance, I might add.  No (reasonable) amount of rest seemed to be helping.  I’ll add that my guideline for that is, if 5-7 days off leads to absolutely no reduction in pain, I determine that resting won’t completely resolve the issue.  I am not a doctor nor do I have any idea what I’m talking about.  It’s just what seems logical to me.

So I went to the doctor, blah blah long stories involving my knee pain being mysterious and not meeting enough diagnostic criteria for an MRI to be approved by insurance, etc.  Since the sports medicine guy really couldn’t do much for me, I went to a chiropractor who is licensed (certified? stamp of approval-ed?) in both Graston and ART.

I backed off the miles to around 15-20 per week while getting Graston and ART treatments 2-3/week.  This lasted for 3 weeks, then I started cautiously upping the miles and reducing the treatments.  I was taking NSAIDS and running with a knee brace (with doctor approval, I might add); I gradually reduced NSAID use and – just this week actually – ditched the knee brace.

The knee slowly but surely improved and I went from being 99.999% sure I had a meniscus tear to being 49.7% sure I probably do have a meniscus tear but it can be managed with treatment and proper training/stretching/strengthening.  Or something.  The chiro was never actually sure what my issue was/is, but scraping the hell out of my knee and ART on my VMO seemed to help.

I’m running the Disney half marathon on January 10th with some friends and that had been a sort of not-that-secret-but-secret-from-the-internet goal race.  A long time ago I audaciously declared that I would run 1:35 at Disney.  Given the knee issue, I more than tempered my expectations but thought I could salvage it somewhat and maybe shoot for 1:42ish.

And then I got walloped by some sort of viral chest infection stomach rage flu.  At this point, I’ve been sick for 10 days and I’m just now starting to feel slightly more like a human.  With the help of a butt ton of meds, I might add.  What this boils down to is, I can’t even imagine walking 13.1 miles right now much less running it much less RACING it.  Joyous!

 

tl;dr version: the past couple months sucked.  I didn’t run very much.  I am very not ready for a race I am supposed to run in a little over a week.  And instead of being super bummed about it, I’m just looking forward to a clean slate and an exciting 2015 spring race season.

That’s A Wrap

28 Aug

aka marathon training, week of 08/18

Thank the running gods, thank your mom, thank baby Jesus, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise – this week was SO much better than the last.  This was the last legit week of training before taper and for my own sanity’s sake, I really needed it to go well.

Here’s how it shook out:

Monday: rest
Tuesday: Speed work at the track.  3x (4min/6min hard w/2min rest).  I was hoping to just be under 7min pace for each interval; ended up averaging 6:40 for the 4 minute intervals and 6:48 for the 6 minute intervals.  Felt great and no hamstring pain.  Win.
Wednesday: 50 minute easy run; 5.4 miles
Thursday: 50 minute easy run; 5.4 miles
Friday: 50 minute easy run; 5.4 miles
Saturday: long run, 20 miles
Sunday: 60 minute easy run; 6.4 miles

Total: 50.6 miles

I felt a bit sluggish during the week and got myself pretty worked up about the long run.  I knew I needed to finish it feeling strong so I tried to set myself up for success with feeling good being the only goal.  The Green Lakes Endurance Runs (50km and 100km) were taking place on Saturday, and luckily, some of my running friends were up for a long run on the trails while cheering on some of our mutual friends and the other racers.  Due to run-cheering, the pace was slow and steady and man, did my legs really appreciate that.  Before I knew it, we were 2h:45m into the run and I was still feeling really fresh.  I was dead set on getting to 20 miles given the not-so-great long run the previous week, so I decided set off for the last 30 minutes on my own and was able to comfortably drop the pace to around 8:30.  Finished up the long run by enjoying a beer in the pouring rain with my friends while continuing to cheer for the ultrarunners.  All you could hope for.

So there it is.  Bring on the taper!

The Stupid Week from Stupid Town

19 Aug

aka marathon training, week of 08/11

Overall, this week was plagued by a combination of too much work stress, not enough sleep, and – for the first time in over 8 months – the feeling of just plain not wanting to go run.  Just about every run this week was a struggle to get out the door.

I didn’t skip any runs so I can’t beat myself up too much – in reality, the only “damage” done was that I ended up cutting off about 10 minutes from what I had wanted to do on a few days.

Here’s how it shook out:

Monday: 50 minute easy run; 5.44 miles
Tuesday: Hamstring is about 95% better, but the speed workout was short intervals. Figured I should try to not be stupid and decided to skip. Intended to run easy instead and succumbed to a beer after work instead.
Wednesday: 50 minute easy run; 5.35 miles
Thursday: 55 minute easy run; 6.64 miles
Friday: 60 minute easy run; 7.3 miles
Saturday: 55 minute easy run; 6.44 miles
Sunday: 2h15m (stupid)long run; 16 (stupid)miles

Total:   47.2 miles

So, the long run. I had it in my brain that maybe I wanted to race a half marathon after all and decided to run the idea by Laura to see what she thought.  After much debating over the pros and cons, she offered up a great option: run the long run she had on her schedule with her.  It was supposed to be a progression from 8:45 down to 8:15 for the first 12 miles, and then if we felt good, pick it up to 7:30-7:45 for the last 4.  This sounded totally doable (tough, but doable) and like a great confidence-boosting workout to throw down one month before my race.

We ended up making it even more of an adventure by turning it into a little weekend getaway, but more on that later.

It went really well at first … until all of a sudden it wasn’t so great.  My heart rate was through the roof and an 8:30 (stupid) pace felt like 7:30, effort-wise.  Things got really negative in my (stupid) mind.  I eventually felt dizzy and disoriented.  It was delightful (alliteration, mother fuckers).

Even a day later, I’m still not sure what to make of this.  It was humid and I was definitely dehydrated.  It felt like Wineglass all over again.  I didn’t take any water with me and that was probably my big (stupid) mistake.  What is hard for me to wrap my head around is that just simple dehydration could have made the run that bad, or made 8:30 pace feel that bad.

I have to say that Laura is not only one of the best friends you could ever hope to have, but that she is most likely an actual goddamn saint.  I was the epitome of whiny bitch at many points during this run, and she had nothing but words of encouragement for me.  I am truly lucky.

So, another (stupid) week in the books.  Here’s hoping this week is better.

 

Fall (Summer?) 2014 Marathon Training Recap

12 Aug

In a way, I feel like I’ve been training for this marathon since the beginning of the year.  When I was trying to build back from the litany of injuries that derailed my fall 2013 plans, I always had an eventual fall marathon in mind.  And in a lot of ways, once I decided on a race and declared I was “officially” training for a marathon, there wasn’t a lot of change in what I was doing week to week.

For brevity’s sake, however, I’ll start this recap with the week of May 12th, which I think was the date we decided was the real start of training.

 

Week Of: Total Mileage: Key Workouts: Long Run: Comments:
05/12 43 None 15.03 Easy, base-building miles.
05/19 35.8 Buffalo Half Marathon in 1:39:30 14.6 (half, plus warm-up) Tapered just slightly for the race so overall mileage was lower.
05/26 43.8 None 15.12 More easy miles post-race.
06/02 49.1 6 mile tempo: 7:27, 7:17, 7:21, 7:16, 7:23, 7:07 (7:19 avg) 16.42 Solid tempo and long run along with overall increase in miles.
06/09 51.9 – 25 (30?) minutes of hill repeats

– 4×1 mile repeats w/400m rest: 6:51, 6:49, 6:57, 6:54

16.3 Quads were hurting from the start of the mile repeat workout but was able to push through. Thought I’d be dead for the long run but still held a 9:15ish pace.
06/16 48.9 – Ladder: 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1; 5:43-5:59-6:33-6:41-6:52-6:49-6:57-6:47-6:07- 6 mile MP Tempo: avg 7:55 pace 17 Wanted to run 8-8:10 for MP tempo (ran it watchless) so I was happy to see my pace was close. Started to experience some groin/front-of-hip pain that progressed throughout the week.
06/23 41.2 7 mile MP Tempo: avg 8:16 pace 17.51 Groin/hip pain persisted and so I modded Tuesday’s speedwork to attempt another MP tempo. It didn’t go very well. Took an extra rest day and ran very easy miles the rest of the week. Got through the long run without pain intensifying.
06/30 43.3 5K Race – 21:12 16.18 More easy miles leading up to the race. Groin/hip pain still present, but not worsening.
07/07 44.8 None 12.47 Ran the Boilermaker with my bf and wasn’t sure what to do in terms of mileage or workouts. Didn’t want to trash my legs just in case. Ended up being a fun week of easy miles.
07/14 53.6 45 minute tempo – covered 6.3 miles/7:10 average pace. 17.49 Groin/hip feeling better this week. Tempo felt very good, even with poor weather conditions, and managed a big negative split. Then came the crash – this was supposed to be the first 20-miler of the cycle. Both my friend and I felt like SHIT the whole way, to the point where even a run/walk approach wasn’t cutting it. Had to call it at 17.5 miles. This was probably the lowest point of training, thus far.
07/21 45.4 Short intervals – 6x(60/90/30 seconds w/short recoveries) 20 Like the big dummy I am, I managed to tweak my hamstring running the short interval workout. I need to be fucking smarter about this. My body just doesn’t handle short and fast speed work. Took an extra rest day. Did, however, manage to get to 20 miles for the long run, which had felt entirely impossible the prior week. Win some, lose some.
07/28 50.6 Long strength intervals – 2x(5/7/3 minutes w/short recoveries) 21.52 Hamstring improving, but the last 3 minute interval aggravated it a little bit. All the intervals were sub-7:00 pace, so all-in-all, a workout with 30 minutes of ~5K pace running. Felt good. Followed up with a really fun and productive long run. A++ week.
08/04 52.5 60 minute tempo – covered 8.35 miles/7:15 average pace 22.5 Still contending with various “niggles” but had a really strong week. Very happy with the long tempo and had a fantastic long run with my friend. Hilly run and still managed a 9:08 pace.  This was probably the strongest week of training I’ve ever thrown down.

 

What has worked well for me:

  • More tempos
  • Higher mileage (for me) – a 40 mile week used to be a peak week for me; it’s nice to know that even when I’m feeling like I’m on the brink of a potential injury, I can “step back” to a 40-45 mile week and that does the trick
  • Starting with a good long run base – prior to “officially” starting training, I was routinely doing 2h-2h:15m long runs. The long runs used to be the hardest part of marathon training for me, and while I am not ready to say they are easy quite yet, they don’t take it out of me quite as much as they used to.

What hasn’t worked so well:

  • Adding a second workout while increasing mileage – I loved doing the second workout, but next time I want to keep my weekly mileage stable when I add it in.
  • Short speed workouts – yeah, my body just can’t handle anything faster than about 6:35 pace without combusting. I should probably figure out why that is.

And so here we are: 2 more weeks of real training, and then it’s taper time. I’ll try to recap those weeks in real-time (aka, stop being such a slouch).  As of right now, I am on the up-swing of the training roller coaster and I hope that it stays that way.

 

Are you training for a goal race this fall?  Which one, and how is it going?

Please tell me someone else out there shares the rollercoaster training feeling.

The Secret’s Out

8 Aug

I’ve been training for a marathon.

mean-girls-full-of-secrets

That is a really shitty secret.  In fact, I’m pretty sure everyone reading this right now already knew.

 

I didn’t really intend to *not* blog about it, it just sort of happened that way.  To briefly recap: this past spring I chose to only run half marathons; after what was almost 2 years of being on the injury-overtraining-injury-too much rest-injury rollercoaster, I knew I needed both a physical and mental break.  I made myself a promise that I wouldn’t attempt another marathon training cycle until I both a) ran a half marathon PR and b) was consistently running 40ish miles per week for at least 8 weeks straight.

While I didn’t exactly hit the half marathon PR, I came close enough in New Jersey.  That’s when the wheels in my head started turning.

After a talk (actually, a lot of talks) with a good friend of mine in my running group, high on an almost-half-PR and Boston 2014 fresh in both of our minds, we decided this is it.  Time to fully commit to a strong training cycle and lay it all on the line with the hopes of a sub-3:35 awaiting us at the end.  With the desire of Boston burning strong (and some legitimate logistical life issues that made the early fall marathon make sense), we decided we will run the Lehigh Valley VIA Marathon on September 7th.

lehigh-valley-via-marathon

All that being said, I didn’t want to start blabbing on the internet about my next marathon.  I have a habit of overreaching early on in an “official” training cycle and I was half convinced I’d end up with some sort of injury after a week or two and to be honest?  I wasn’t ready to share another marathon-related defeat with the world.

Time rolled on, training continued with its inherent ups and downs, life brought me some personal trials and tribulations and … internet silence continued.  Ye olde blog took a backseat.

So now here I am, with less than 3 weeks of training before taper and I figured I should probably start talking about this stupid thing.  My original plan was to be averaging 50mpw over this training cycle and I will fall a little short of that.  Truth is, I have had some varying “niggles” – some more concerning than others – that necessitated a step down from where I wanted to be.  However, I’ve also had some very promising workouts and have been maintaining a 45mpw average over the past 16 weeks that I’ve been tracking.  It’s more than I’ve ever done before, and it’s definitely been enough to make me eat all the food.

jennifer-lawrence-starving

I feel cautiously confident about a BQ.  I think that weather will have the final say – and that’s the gamble you take with an early fall marathon.  I will say that random aches and pains aside, I feel the most fit that I’ve ever been.  I owe a lot of that to my training partner and friend – she’s a bit faster than I am, and having run with her for almost every speed workout and long run over the past 4 months or so, I know I have improved much more than I would’ve been able to do on my own.  (It also helps that we have a super awesome coach/friend who is very encouraging and supportive *psst Doobeedooo psst*).

the-office-5k-race-drafting

This is relevant, because I often draft off certain people and also count their wedgies. #tmi

I plan to write up a high level summary of my training thus far, mostly because I hate reading running blogs that are like “ooh sparkles and magic/look at me run solid marathons/must just be natural talent/I will never tell you how I train!”  I am sure that all 4 of you reading this are waiting with bated breath.

So that’s where I’m at.  Training for a marathon, hoping this old and creaky body hangs on for another 2+ weeks of higher mileage and workouts, and getting ready for some taper crazies.  If y’all could start talking to the weather gods now and keep Sept. 7th on their radar, I will owe you big time, ok?  I’ve been known to make hearts out of Swedish fish for people … and then eat them myself.  That’s just the kind of giving person I happen to be.

swedish-fish-hearts