Hope everyone had a great 4th of July!! I made some festive Jell-O shots to celebrate 🙂 It was rainy and gross in the morning, but it cleared up and ended up being a great day for family, BBQs and being outside.
Over the next few weeks, I’m focusing on base building. I created a 12 week training plan for the Hartford Marathon. I included 5 weeks of base building/marathon recovery (if you include last week) before the 12 period begins, so it’s really like a 16-17 week program. I didn’t think it would be wise to jump right into high mileage, track workouts and tempo runs with only one week of marathon recovery, and I’ve been very successful on 12 week programs in the past. During the base building phase, I want to incorporate some moderate speed – moderately paced progression runs, fartleks, and some local races so I don’t completely shock my body with the addition of intensity in week 4-5.
Monday, 6/29 – 2800 Meter Swim + Strength/PT/core + Pole Strong
Swimming was uneventful, other than being excited because I did a bunch of 100s and I was averaging 1:37-1:38/100 meters pretty consistently. I’m not a fast swimmer, but I do remember a time not too long ago that just breaking 1:50 for 100 meters was a good day. Progress!
I did a quick session with weights and headed to the pole studio for a class called Pole Strong – a body weight conditioning class for those working to progress at the pole fit classes. I tried as many classes as I could while they were free so I thought, why not. It was one of the hardest classes I’ve ever taken, and my whole upper body felt like it was run over by a truck the next day. Funniest part – we did these crazy circuits where we had to do pull ups (I JUST MENTIONED that I can do ONE pull up and blogged about them last week!) on the pole! I think they might have been harder than using a bar at the gym. We also did crazy pushups on the pole, and some core work that left my entire torso stiff and sore. I still can’t get over how hard of a workout it is. I realize that I keep repeating myself, but I’m just in awe of it.
I did some paleo cooking that afternoon and started working on a recipe for some paleo Almond Joy bars:
They tasted pretty great but I need to work on the filling before I post the recipe! It falls apart a little, even after being in the refrigerator. Guess I’ll just have to make another batch to try again- what a shame!
Tuesday, 6/30 – 12 Mile Progression Run + Pole Fitness
I planned my long run early in the week because I knew I had a 15K race on the schedule for Saturday. Besides the race, my long run was my hardest planned run of the week so I wanted as much distance between the run and the race as possible. I headed to the Plainfield trail because it’s a very similar grade to Saturday’s race course (or so I thought – more on that later) – uphill on the way out, downhill on the way back. My goal was to run the first 7 miles easy and the last 5 at a moderate pace. If “moderate” felt good (7:15-30 range), I planned to run the last 2-3 miles at goal marathon pace (GMP). I warmed up with my first mile @ 7:56, and ran miles 2-6 very consistently between 7:41-7:45. Once I hit the turn around, I kicked the pace up a little more: 7:25, 7:17, 7:10. Since those felt decent, I decided to see if I could do the last three at GMP: 6:50, 6:57, 6:51. Though the last three miles were not a perfect progression, the overall run was progressive – started slow, gradually got faster, and ended fastest. Overall pace, 7:25. I was excited, especially since I did this run solo and it was the first “speed work” I’ve done since the marathon.
I followed it up with a pole class almost immediately after and learned some more new tricks:
It’s safe to say that I have a new obsession. Ha! We had some crazy weird storms in our area on Tuesday afternoon and a TORNADO ACTUALLY TOUCHED DOWN. WHAT?! I live in Pennsylvania – NOT Kansas!! I was out shopping, and everyone was freaking out and taking cover. And I guess I can understand why, since the sky looked like this:
Luckily, my house was okay but the tornado touched down in the neighborhood where I run with Kathy on Saturday mornings. Her house was fine, but they lost power and didn’t get it back for over a day! WTF, Pennsylvania?!
Wednesday, 7/1 – 8 Mile General Aerobic Run w/8×8 second Hill Sprints + 17 Mile Bike
My legs were a little stiff from Tuesday’s run but I headed out early anyway, and they loosened up pretty quickly. Since I focused on seeing how a little speed felt the day before, I headed out for some hills for this run. I ran in Bethlehem and picked a hilly route – the first half had several big climbs plus part of the Runner’s World Half Marathon course that goes up a long, steep hill. The middle of the run featured a mile that I like to refer to as the hill trifecta – it’s three hills in a row with a slight recovery in between each one. Each hill is harder than the one before it (or maybe I’m just really tired and think that) so by the end of the mile, you are praying for it to end. Though I felt strong running up those, it was my slowest mile of the run. I clearly need work on hills!
My general aerobic range (from McMillian) is 7:14-8:14. Knowing I ran harder on Tuesday and and had the 15K on Saturday, I wanted to keep things on the easy end of that range so I averaged 8:01. I wanted to run comfortably and pay little attention to my Garmin – something I haven’t done in a long, long time and that was the result. When I checked my splits after the run, I noticed that it ended up being progressive for almost the whole thing (other than my hill trifecta mile) – more negative splits! The only mile I consciously ran faster was my last mile since I want to focus on fast finishes for all of my runs. They don’t have to be 5K pace or anything crazy – making my last mile the strongest of each run will hopefully translate to feeling stronger in the later miles of a marathon. When the run was over, I started my mini hill sprints again – something that comes from Run Faster and I haven’t done in a long time. They get tacked on after an easier run each week. It actually tacked on another 1/2 mile to my run, so I ended up with 8.5 for the day.
Following my run, I headed out for a bike ride with my friend Jenny. We’ve been friends since 4th grade, and she just moved home from Vancouver, British Columbia! After college, she also lived in New Zealand and India. She loves to run and bike but has no idea where to go, so I took her on a nice, easy loop that she can use as a go-to ride when she wants to go out.
It was great to catch up and hang out, and I’m so excited that she’s home for good. Following our ride, I went home and did core, drills, and MYRTLs.
Thursday, 7/2 – Recovery 6 mile run + Strength/Core/PT + Yoga
I headed to the parkway for a recovery run, and the focus was to go easy. My McMillian recovery range is 8:20-9:01, and I averaged 8:38 pace. I felt really tired even though I got a good night’s sleep and did the first two miles of this run in my Newtons (last week, I ran one mile in them to begin the process of breaking them in). I averaged closer to a 9 minute pace for those miles because I want to be cautious as I continue my transition, especially since I doubled the distance that I did in those shoes from last week.
Once I changed back to my Brooks, I still didn’t feel peppy so I fell into a relaxed pace until the final mile, where I picked it up. Not much – my final mile was an 8:07 – the goal was for it to be the fastest mile of the run. Even on my recovery runs, I am making a conscious effort to finish strong. It’s funny, I felt like crap for most of the run until that final mile. Sometimes, I think slowing things down can be just as uncomfortable as speeding them up. But marathon training is about making yourself comfortable with being uncomfortable. Easy miles are a critical part of the base building process. If I want to get back to running 60-70 miles per week, I can’t expect to kill it on every single run.
I also got in a good strength session that included drills, MYRTLs, PT exercises, and 30 minutes of core. In the afternoon, I spent about 25 minutes on my yoga mat just doing an easy practice and finished up with some foam rolling. I took an ice bath since my legs felt pretty stiff that morning.
Friday– 20 Minute Shakeout Run w/6×100 meter sprints + 2400 Meter Swim + Core
I was starting to get nervous about the race, because I ran about 2.5 miles to shake my legs out with some pickups and my legs felt heavy and tired. It’s not like I was tapering for the race so I wasn’t happy that my legs felt crappy. I did drills, MYRTLs, abs and an easy swim afterwards.
Saturday – Race Street Run 15K
Race recap coming soon! It was NOT the kind of race I expected. But I will leave you with this little spoiler:
Sunday – 17 Mile Ride + 5 mi Transition/Recovery Run + Core
I had a friend coming in from out of town later that morning, but I didn’t want to change my workout. I’d planned to do no more than a 20 mile ride and a 5 mile run. I knew I would only have time to ride for an hour, and I wasn’t willing to push the workout off until the afternoon because I knew I would be way less likely to do it. I also wasn’t willing to cancel on my friend over a workout. I don’t want to miss out on hanging with my friends because I need to do some sort of workout.
The past six months have taught me that yes, you need to work hard to achieve your goals but it’s important to make time for the things that really matter. No matter how hard you train for a race, something can be off on race day and things might not go your way. It’s hurts more when you reflect on your training and realized that you not only didn’t achieve your goal, but missed out on life in the process. I truly enjoy the time I spend running, riding, swimming, etc. But someday, that might not be as much of a priority – and then what are you left with? The past six months might not have gone my way, but I think the lesson learned is that I can’t turn my life upside down to shave a few seconds off of my marathon time. I have that “Type A” personality and tend chase my goals by taking things to extreme levels. Another work in progress.
So I sucked it up and headed out on my bike at 6am. It was one of the most peaceful rides I’ve ever done. There was absolutely no one on the roads and the sun was incredible. I wish I got a shot of it earlier because it was actually red when I first began my ride:
I felt like I was the only person in the world out there. I didn’t see a single car the entire time. These roads are not normally super busy but there are usually some cars. I wasn’t riding fast, but my legs felt good once I got moving.
The run, however, was another story. I suck at transition runs. My legs never feel good when I run off the bike. I have a Olympic distance triathlon in about a month, so I need these types of runs in my schedule. I’m going to keep them on the schedule after the triathlon when I can. There are a lot of benefit to them in marathon training. Perhaps the most important aspect (for me) is the discomfort. These runs are not comfortable to me, and marathon training is all about being comfortable with the uncomfortable. They also give me practice running on tired legs. As if my legs weren’t tired enough from the 15K the day before, the bike ride loosened them up a little but tired them out even more.
As for how the run actually went? It was surprisingly well, once I warmed up. I wanted to keep it in my recovery zone (8:20-9:01) and averaged 8:28 pace. My splits were perfect negative splits with a fast finish mile, even though it was downhill on the way out and uphill on the way back: 8:54, 8:45, 8:35, 8:24, 7:54. By the last mile, I felt like I could keep going but I was out of time.
It was a great week and I’m loving summer break. I made some progress with base building got to do mostly solo runs this week (last week, I ran with people on almost every run). I’m thankful for this time where I can enjoy my workouts without rushing to fit them in and try some new things. Things get so crazy and hectic during the school year!
Swim: 5200 meters ♥ Bike: 34 miles ♥ Run: 43.3 miles
How was your week? Ever have a tornado touch down in your area? Do you have that “Type A” personality that likes to take over every so often? Run any Fourth of July races this week?