Tag Archives: boston marathon training

Week in Running: 1/27/14-2/2/14

I think I sound like a broken record when I say that this week was another step up in mileage and intensity. I guess most weeks are going to be like that for awhile. And, I couldn’t be happier about that! Coming off of a great race and then some reduced training has me really motivated to work hard and put in the work for Boston! For Rocket City, I had a longer time to build up. It’s a shorter turnaround with Boston and I want to make as much progress as I can in the meantime!

Because I am training hard and very motivated to make progress before Boston, I’m trying to take my easy days and recovery as seriously as possible. I was going to try to lump all the things I do to stay on top of my recovery in this post but it was getting long fast. So another post coming on rest and recovery soon!

This week started off freezing cold, again. I was a little discouraged by last week’s short, hilly tempo in the sub-10 degree weather. This week, I had one more workout in the extreme temps but then things warmed up a bit. I am really not taking 30 degree days for granted right now! These days that almost feels balmy!

Monday: 3 miles very easy in the morning; 6 miles easy with 4x30s pick ups in the afternoon. I took the day off from work since I had worked MLK Day. I am running a 5k this Saturday and was near the course in the morning so I decided to jog the course for my morning run just to get a feel for it. Both runs this day felt good.

Tuesday: 3 miles warm up with strides, 16×1:00 on/off (start around 10k effort and ramp it up), 2 miles cool down. This was a bump from last week’s fartlek of 10×1:00 on/off. Scott told me to run this one by effort and not pay attention to the watch because of the extreme cold this day. I think it was about 12 degrees. I started around 6:20 pace on my fast sections and worked down to sub 6 pretty early on. I didn’t mean to speed up that quickly but alas. I felt smooth at first but about halfway in, I started to experience lactic acid build up in my legs. This was a really odd feeling for me because I hardly ever deal with that to this degree-even in my toughest track workouts! Towards the end of the workout, my legs were locking up by the end of each minute which made it hard to keep running fast. I finished the workout and didn’t positive split, but it made me worry just how much I had lost in my recovery from Rocket City. That day, I was curious about just how big of a role extreme cold plays in running performance and I found this article which specifically mentions lactic acid: http://runneracademy.com/cold-weather-impact-on-running/. I felt a lot better after reading that. When I looked at my data later, my heart rate averaged in the upper 160s for each interval which confirmed that I really wasn’t working that hard and the perceived difficulty was due primarily to the lactic acid.

Wednesday: 3 miles very easy in the morning, 6 miles easy after work. It was 5 degrees for my morning run. That made it easy to keep to the ‘very easy’ part of my plan. I ended up getting a later start than I wanted to for my evening run. That made me a bit antsy to get it out of the way and that almost always results in the run seeming to take even longer. I was really slow for the 2nd run. The effort felt like a normal easy run effort but it was definitely slower than my usual easy run. I think I was feeling the prior day’s fartlek in my legs.

Thursday: 8 miles with 10 hill blasts; It was 9 degrees for this run and I admit to being pretty disheartened when I checked the weather that morning. I run my hill blasts entirely by effort but I could tell they were slightly slower this week, probably (hopefully) due to the cold.

Friday: 2 mile warm up with strides, 8x800m at 3:10 with 400m jog recovery, 1 mile cool down. In case anyone (dad 🙂 ) isn’t familiar with track workout lingo, that is 8 repeats of 2 times around the track (800 meters, or half a mile) with 1 time around the track (400 meters, or a quarter of a mile) as a jog recovery between each 800 meter interval. I ended up running 2:57, 3:07, 3:07, 3:06, 3:06, 3:06, 3:06, and 3:06. I clearly way overshot the effort on the first one and was able to dial it back for the last ones. 800 workouts used to be my nemesis but the last two I’ve done have been great. This felt like the first real indicator of how my fitness was doing. Since my fartlek on Tuesday and my tempo the week before were done in such extreme temps, I wasn’t sure where my fitness was. This workout felt really good and strong and I felt a bit of a confidence boost that things are heading in the right direction.

Saturday: 19 miles over a hilly route. I’m fairly certain that 19 mile runs are never going to feel like quick little jaunts but they’ve gotten better for me. I have worked hard on being patient with them which actually works to make them pass by more quickly (imagine that!). I ran through some of Nashville’s hilliest neighborhoods which was good as far as the goal of the run was concerned, but it was tough! I got rolling pretty quickly and didn’t ease into the pace like I sometimes do on long runs. The first half I stayed around the 8-8:15 range but moved into the 7:40-7:55 range for the 2nd half. A bit faster than I normally do long runs but still far enough away from marathon pace to not be overdoing it.

Sunday: 6 very easy. I was pretty proud of this run. I took it extremely easy and made sure to keep my heart rate low. My heart rate stayed in the 130s and lower 140s which is perfect for a recovery run. Because I had done a track workout followed by a hilly long run, I wanted to be smart with this run and use it as recovery and not do any more damage. I really prefer active recovery over rest days because I feel like it helps my muscles recover more quickly and I feel less stiff and sore.

Total Mileage For the Week:  73


Week in Running 1/20/14-1/26/14

I had a great week of training last week. I’m transitioning back into more intensity and harder workouts. The reduced load was necessary after the marathon and once I got used to it, it was nice to have a little break in higher mileage/intensity. But, I’m very motivated to be better and faster so it’s nice to be heading that direction again.

One struggle right now is that I lost some fitness during my recovery from the marathon. It’s tough mentally because I want so much to be improving but right now I’m still trying to catch back up to where I was pre-marathon. I’m hoping in a couple of weeks I’ll be back there and then I can set my sights on a new half PR at Tom King in early March.

Anyway, here was last week’s training:

Monday: Easy 8 with 6x30s pick ups; Felt pretty good on this but my last pick-up on a gradual uphill section didn’t feel very smooth.

Tuesday: 2 mile warm-up, 10×1:00 on/off, 2 mile cool down. Start off at 6:15ish and work down. This was my first fartlek of this training cycle. If you are unfamiliar with fartleks, here is a good resource: http://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/lost-art-fartlek. Fartleks are a great way to transition from base building to heavier training. I did a ton of them early on in my last training cycle. We started to taper off of them later in training as I transitioned to more marathon specific workouts. Basically, the workout was one minute at a fast pace followed by one minute at a recovery pace (those ranged between 8-10 minute pace). I did that sequence 10 times. I do my fartleks on a road with a few rolling hills which is a nice added stimulus (although during the workout I don’t typically think it’s so nice). I started off on these a little fast and got under 6 minute pace fairly easily. The weather was moderate (32ish I think). I was surprised how easily I got rolling. However, about 6 in I started to get tired and had some oxygen debt on the last two. This shows me I’m a little rusty but it was a good reintroduction to fartleks. I had 2 repeats slightly over 6 minute pace and the rest were in the 5:30-5:50 range.

Wednesday: 3 miles very easy; 6 miles easy. It’s really nice to sometimes wake up and only have 3 miles on the agenda. Even though that almost always means I have to run again later in the day, it’s nice to get some extra sleep and 3 miles always flies by. I had to pick Millard up at the airport that evening so I did my second run around noon. It took me awhile to warm up and get settled but then I got rolling. I really liked doing it in the middle of the day and may do that more often before the weather gets warm.

Thursday: 8 miles with 8-10 hill blasts; I ended up doing a little over 3 miles of warm up before starting the hill blasts. I switched to a slightly steeper hill for this one. The hill I’d run the last couple of weeks is a legitimate hill but it’s not super steep. It barely registers on Garmin’s elevation chart which was making me feel like a wimp. I definitely felt the added steepness as these hill blasts were harder than the last couple of weeks. I ended up doing 10. Ran the last 2.6 miles back home.

Friday: 2 miles warm up, 4 miles at tempo effort (think around 6:45 effort, not pace) on a hilly route, 2 miles cool down; it was 8 degrees for this run. I wore way too much clothing. I ended up doing 3 miles of warm-up because after 2 miles, my feet still felt numb. I felt like another mile would help. In retrospect, I should’ve shed some clothing for my tempo miles and circled back to them and put them back on for my cool down (which is what I ended up doing for today’s fartlek workout). I had on two pairs of tights, two pairs of socks, a short sleeve and long sleeve, a jacket, two pairs of gloves, and two headbands. I felt really restricted. This was much harder than I wanted it to be and it was humbling. I do think the weather and too much clothing played a role, but I’m also rusty at tempo pace. This was my first tempo workout of the cycle. I picked a pretty hilly route and while I felt pretty smooth on the flats and downhills, the uphills were definitely hard. I felt a little discouraged after this because it’s clear I have work to do but I was happy to get some hard running in. In order to not get too focused on pace, I put my watch screen on heart rate so I could gauge my effort level. I only observed my pace when the watch beeped for my mile splits, but I tried to genuinely run this one for effort and not gun for a particular pace. Splits for the tempo were 6:45, 6:50, 6:45, 6:50.

Saturday: 18 miles over a hilly route. This was a really good long run. I ran a hilly route through East Nashville, downtown, up to Belmont area, and back down to downtown. I felt strong on the hills. The miles went by pretty quickly which is nice when you’re running for over 2 hours. The most encouraging thing about this long run was my recovery. Last training cycle, I struggled a little to adapt to the long runs during high mileage/high intensity weeks. I would feel exhausted by dinner time and my legs would feel pretty beat up. I felt great on Saturday. My energy stayed high and I was even able to stay up and watch a movie with my boyfriend! This seems simple, but there have been many nights when I can barely keep my eyes open after 8 on a Saturday. The next day I felt pretty good and my legs didn’t seem to take a beating. This is really encouraging as I think it shows my body is adapting well to the mileage.

Sunday: 6 grandma speed miles. I decided to run the XC course at Vaughn’s Gap (By Edwin Warner park) and then run one of the trails for the last 3 miles. I figured running the cross country course would ensure that I took it easy. The ground is really uneven and pitted and I knew I would not encounter many, if any, other runners on it on a Sunday morning. I ran my first mile slower than I’ve run a mile in a long time. It took quite awhile to get used to the uneven ground. I didn’t have to worry about feeling competitive or too slow because I only saw one or two runners the whole time going the opposite direction. This did show me that I am a road runner through and through. I do not enjoy running the cross country course. I then ran the last 3 miles along an Edwin Warner trail. It’s funny, my fastest mile was on the only paved section I ran that day. My legs felt kind of tired for this, but didn’t have any pain or soreness from the long run.

Total Mileage for the Week: 66.9 (yes…that .1 kills me).

Week in Running: 1/13/14-1/19/14

Last week is the first week I really felt like I was starting to get into the groove of training. Even though I was only sick a few days, it was a tiny little bump in the road on my way to getting back to training. This past week, I had slightly more intensity and did some faster running than I’ve done since the marathon. It felt so nice to run fast again, especially because it didn’t feel terrible and I didn’t feel totally out of shape! I’ve got a long way to go and it’s an effort to stay patient, but last week was encouraging.

Monday: 8 miles easy with 6x30s pick ups. My dad brought to my attention that I should probably explain my workout terminology a little bit better. 6x30s means I did six strides during my run of 30 seconds each. If you’re unfamiliar with strides, this is a fairly good article to read: http://www.runnersworld.com/workouts/add-strides-your-next-run. I usually do mine sprinkled into my run, but a lot of people do them after and sometimes I do that, too. It just depends. This run felt great. I just felt really smooth and it felt effortless and fun.

Tuesday: 10 miles easy; One thing I’ve learned over and over is how different you can feel from day to day (or even from morning to night on double days!). I felt great the day before but this run I felt flat and 10 miles felt so long.

Wednesday: 3 miles easy with strides (I did 4), 10 hill blasts, 2 miles easy; Hill blasts are short sprints at an all out, 100% effort up a short, steep hill. I shoot for about 10 seconds as hard as I can go. I focus on good form and turning my legs over. After each hill blast, I jog slowly for 2 minutes and do it again. These are new to my training this cycle, but are great for speed and fitness and will be an asset for training for Boston. I will probably switch to a steeper hill down the road but I’m enjoying getting into the groove with this workout. One thing to note is that 10 hill blasts were a lot harder than last week’s 6. Ended up with 7.75 miles for this day.

Thursday: 9 mile natural progression run; starting nice and easy and working down towards 7 effort. I LOVE progression runs. They’re my favorite. I guess it’s kind of the lazy man’s favorite workout because you get time to naturally warm up, usually they’re fairly unstructured (not always) and you can gradually speed up. I love that I start slow and feel like I’m flying by the end, but I don’t feel like I’m dying. I went a little fast on this one unintentionally, but loved getting the wheels moving again. These runs are a nice transition to harder training and more intensity. Splits were: 8:54, 8:14, 7:56, 7:37, 7:22, 7:12, 7:05, 6:56, 6:49 and last .14 was 6:16 pace (down a hill).

Friday: 6 miles very easy

Saturday: 16 miles; if feeling good I could drop it down to a steadier, 7:30 effort the last 3-4; I felt really great and strong for most of this. I’ve been running a bit faster on my long runs and I am guessing it’s just because I don’t have much, if any, cumulative fatigue built up yet at this point in training. I am not intentionally picking it up but it’s hard to slow down once I’ve gotten rolling. The last couple of miles were tough. My legs were tired and I wanted to be done. I really truly meant to keep the last four miles slower but had trouble putting on the brakes. Gotta get more disciplined with that. My last four miles were: 7:25, 7:28, 7:26, 7:22. This training cycle I want to be more disciplined and not run much faster than the effort or paces I’m given. An important lesson I’ve had to learn is to not race my workouts because then I have nothing to give on race day.

Sunday: 0-6 very easy. I ended up going with six. Felt really good besides some left calf/behind the knee soreness. My boyfriend always pokes fun at me because I almost always do the max if I’m given a range. One day he asked me how many miles I was going to do and he said, almost angrily, “Are you EVER just going to do zero?” My philosophy so far with this has been, I’m going to listen to my body as much as I can. I don’t cut myself a lot of slack so I’m generally not going to take a day just because I feel lazy. But, if I feel like my body really genuinely needs me to do less miles or even zero, then I will. I’ve found that active recovery really works for me. Getting out and doing some very easy miles seems to help me recover better than not running at all.

Total Miles for the Week: 63.5

Slowly climbing in the mileage and intensity. I maxed out last training cycle at 79 miles for a Monday-Sunday week (though I went over 80 on a 7 day stretch a couple of times). It’s important that I not rush right back up to the 80 range or I could risk injury. I really enjoyed some variety in my workouts last week and am starting to feel like I’m getting back into training again.