Goodbye February, Hello Spring Race Season!

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  1. Total run miles for February: 279
  2. Miles run, year to date486.5
  3. Number of races in February: 1
  4. Longest run in February: 18 miles
  5. Highest volume week in February: 73 miles

Last month, I was shocked that I crested the 200 mile mark for the month. This month, I was expecting to be in the 250+ range and was pleased when I saw 279. This is my highest mileage run month ever! In September, I logged 272 miles. I felt like I ran a lot of miles, but I can say that I truly enjoyed each one (except for maybe those nasty Friday morning runs).

February, oddly enough, has been my favorite month of running in a very long time. Probably since sometime in 2014. It’s a bit ironic, since in January felt worse than it’s felt in years. Much of this can likely be attributed to the break I took after my 2015 fall races. January sucked because I was getting my legs back under me and diving into a new training plan. Now that I have them back, they feel fresher than usual since I took an honest recovery this year. Interesting…

I kicked February off with a 10K at the end of the first week. In the weeks leading up to it, I had mixed feelings about the race. I’d been registered since the fall, but I felt so horrible in January I’d considered not running it. Things started to look up towards the end of January, so I kept the race on the schedule. It ended up being a good thing: I ran a (very small) PR, finishing in 41:30! I felt good about that based on where my fitness level was at this point. image

I spent February building up my mileage and increasing speed. This is odd for me as I usually have a marathon on the schedule around the end of February/ beginning of March. But not this year. Instead, I got to spend the winter training. Before I knew it, I logged my first 70+ mile week since September.

As the mileage began climbing,I noticed the difference in how my legs felt. In the high mileage weeks of September, my legs were extremely fatigued. I went back and read a lot of my old posts (I knew I wrote wordy and detailed posts for a reason!) and they just sound hard. I noticed my recovery/general aerobic paces were either much faster or much slower than they are this time around – so they were not as consistent.  In the fall, I had so many runs where I thought my legs felt like complete garbage. I can’t say they feel that way this time around. I don’t want to jinx myself, and I’m not sure what to attribute that to. I’ve changed several variables (training plan, diet, strength training, weight loss) with this round of training that it’s hard to pinpoint anything.

I did a track workout and a tempo run every single week in February. While my old training plans featured some sort of weekly speed work, this was the first time I did anything so methodical and consistent. The progression of these workouts and the theory behind my training just seems to make so much sense to me. I hit week 10 in my plan, which is where things shift from using 5K pace and running shorter speed sessions to longer, strength building sessions based on marathon pace minus 10 seconds per mile. I’ve done two of those so far and they are a lot harder than I expected, but certainly doable. Sometimes, the speed workouts are scary and daunting but I’ve really come to enjoy them. I hope my legs keep cooperating with me because I’m enjoying every one of those miles.

In other news, I believe I’ve become a bit of a running whore. Since branching out and running with my speedy friend Megan, I’ve been running much more often with friends. Most of my long runs are with her, but I’ve been running with my usual friends, Mark and Kathy, too. I’ve gotten runs in with friends that I haven’t run with in a really long time, like Emily and Missy. It’s been a blast having people to train with again since I log lots of my miles solo.

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I did a serious overhaul on my diet and I feel really good about how I’m eating. I lost 11 lbs since January 4th, and I’ve done a ton of cooking. I’ve been diligent about eating healthy and clean throughout the week, but allow myself to indulge in goodies on the weekends. I still mow down pizza on Friday, and make non-Paleo “comfort” food on Sundays for dinner. I keep an eye on my calorie intake using Fitness Pal, and my goal hasn’t been to operate at a large deficit. In fact, it’s been to make sure I am getting enough calories and proper nutrition to fuel my workouts. I don’t have problems eating enough, but I tend to be someone who uses all of her calories on the wrong things (read: ice cream…which I gave up for Lent!).

I’ve tried a whole bunch of meal delivery services (Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Marley Spoon) and have fallen in love with those – why can’t they be more affordable? I love the way I feel in training when I’m eating well, so that’s been a huge motivator for me to stay on track.

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In the pole fitness world, I’m still in the process of choreographing a routine to a song for a competition I signed up for, and it’s been so much fun. I actually just changed the song I chose for the competition over the last weekend of February, and now I’m done choreographing. It’s all a matter of just practicing the routine and cleaning it up. So super hard, but so enjoyable. It’s the hardest strength training I’ve ever done, and it often means I have days where I do double workouts to fit in Boston and pole training. You’ll have to stalk my Instagram for video clips, since it’s all about stringing moves together now.

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We completed our ❤️ StrongBody Streak, and I legitimately did at least 15 minutes of strength training every SINGLE day for a month! I’ve never done that before. I want to keep that going through Boston. I liked that it wasn’t a specific body part that I had to work each day – 15 minutes of strength in any capacity. On the last day, I almost didn’t do it.  I got home so late and tried convincing myself it was a good day to skip since it was Leap Day, since it’s not even a real day, but I’d done it every single day of the month so I sucked it up.

Moving forward to March, I don’t have any new goals. But I have a few areas I want to keep focusing on:

  • Strength training – stick with my 15 minutes each day.
  • Continue with a clean diet
  • Make it through my whole pole fitness routine for the competition without dying.
  • Instagram some more fun pictures as the weather gets nicer!

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How was your month? Any goals for March?

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36 thoughts on “Goodbye February, Hello Spring Race Season!

  1. She's Going the Distance March 1, 2016 / 8:17 am

    I hit 138 miles in Feb–highest since the fall as well. Not my peak, but surprisingly close for a shortened month! Goals for March are to run a couple 5ks and I may sign up for the RnR DC last minute just to have a place to do a tempo long run and see where my fitness is.

    • allisonfiorini March 2, 2016 / 7:57 am

      Sounds like you had a great month! I have a few races on the schedule for March including a 5K, which is scary to me 🙂 I think those are so hard!!! I bet RnR DC would be a really cool race!

  2. DarlinRae March 1, 2016 / 8:30 am

    Awesome month! February was my highest mileage month ever, and in spite of that I feel great.

    • allisonfiorini March 2, 2016 / 7:57 am

      Great job! That is so awesome!! Doesn’t that make you feel so strong when you feel so good after a big month?

  3. Shawna March 1, 2016 / 8:40 am

    GIRL! i don’t even know where to START, i’m so happy for you and stoked by this post. down 11 lbs, feeling super healthy, cooking more, having the best run month ever (omg those miles!!) — you seriously are inspiring me right now to push myself to new limits. and your body looks incredible and fit — those pole poses!! gah. we need to be real life friends so you rub off on me. 😉 and just because we should anyway!! xo

    • allisonfiorini March 2, 2016 / 8:00 am

      Awwww Shawna thanks!!! We definitely need to be real life friends. Next time I’m in the city, we are totally meeting up! Too bad our winter was not the best, or we could have totally met up for a day of skiing/snowboarding!

  4. Megan @ Meg Go Run March 1, 2016 / 8:42 am

    Hey I normally don’t like “what I ate wed” posts, but I would be very interested in seeing what a day of eats is like for you- someone who is training hard and logging some serious miles! Would you ever consider doing a post recapping a relatively normal day of eats for you?

    • allisonfiorini March 2, 2016 / 8:01 am

      I never did a “What I Ate” post because I’m not always a fan either, but you and Suzy both asked for it so maybe I will! Except I’m away on a trip for work this week so it will be a sucky week of blogging for me – so maybe next week! But I should probably do a week day and a weekend, because those are two very different situations, haha. I am really good during the week but on the weekend, it’s GAME ON.

      • Megan @ Meg Go Run March 2, 2016 / 9:36 am

        Haha! Well ya gotta eat big to log those miles. I eat a lot too. I used to count my calories but not anymore because I got obsessive about it. Cool, well when you have time I will look forward to eating about your weekday and weekend eats!:)

      • allisonfiorini March 2, 2016 / 10:01 am

        Yes! I do use Fitness Pal to count my calories but if I am hungry, I eat regardless of what the bottom line says. I try to drink about 100 oz of water a day, so if I’m still hungry after all of that I mow food down!!

  5. Kerry March 1, 2016 / 10:03 am

    Dude… you are my hero! This is some wild mileage and training. You definitely make me want to get better about eating, up my mileage, and do some serious strength training. I definitely agree with Megan. I would love to hear what it is you eat normally. My goal for March has been to incorporate some more strength training into my workouts. I do a lot of arms and core, but I need to make my legs and hips stronger.

    • allisonfiorini March 2, 2016 / 8:04 am

      Thanks Kerry! I will get on doing an eats post 🙂 I’m away for work this week so maybe next Wednesday I’ll do it. Check out the Nike Training App for strength training and core – super workouts, and they are all relatively short so it fits in your day when it’s convenient for you!!!

  6. suzysuzyheather March 1, 2016 / 10:23 am

    I’m with Meg on the WIW post! I’m curious! And I know you’d be honest, too. I hate reading the WIW posts of people who just post a bunch of veggies and tofu. And yeah, you’re so inspiring to me. Having you “around” is probably the single most best thing that’s happened for my running. Honestly!

    • allisonfiorini March 2, 2016 / 8:06 am

      Awwwwww! I know reading your posts and your miles has been so good for me too. Like this week – I am away for work and have minimal time, but I’m using your techniques of running some doubles to get it done! I never would have thought to do that before. But you do, and you rock. I definitely eat zero tofu but lots of veggies – I eat a lot of weird shit so I’ll do a post at some point about it 🙂 Lately I’ve been eating more since my mileage has been up…I’m just so effing hungry!! Rungry.

  7. Hollie March 1, 2016 / 11:16 am

    I’m happy for you that everything went so well last month and you are on the uphill swing. You deserve that. You rocked last month and I’m sure March will be even stronger!

    • allisonfiorini March 2, 2016 / 8:07 am

      Thank you Hollie! We need to get in on a spring race together sometime soon!

  8. Amy Lauren March 1, 2016 / 12:40 pm

    You had a really wonderful month! A PR, staying injury free, weight loss (with healthy diet), and some great training. Good luck with the pole competition and the rest of your Boston training.

  9. Anna @ Piper's Run March 1, 2016 / 2:46 pm

    I completely sucked at “Strongbody Streak” … fist palm to forehead! Oh man, I can’t believe I failed…and so early in the month. My bad.
    You had a fantastic month, looking forward to hearing how your pole competition goes! My motivation to run this month was low but I did get in some other fun things and a few nasty head colds 😉

    • allisonfiorini March 2, 2016 / 8:10 am

      Thank you! And, no worries about the streak. Try again for March! Or modify – say you will do it 3x/week and then maybe in April increase that to 4x/week. Make it work for you! Ugh, head colds are the worst!!!!! There was a lot of crap going around this month!

  10. sarahdudek80 March 1, 2016 / 5:19 pm

    I just realized while reading this that I have been doing a ton of miles and should sit down and see what I have done for the month and the year. So glad you are feeling good and fit and healthy again!

    • allisonfiorini March 2, 2016 / 8:11 am

      YES I would love to hear a post about where you are so far this year!! I love recaps like that!

  11. irishrunnerchick March 1, 2016 / 10:07 pm

    Awesome start to 2016! I missed two days of the streak – one when camping in the desert and one after skiing – so I’m pretty happy with that and hope that I can keep it up!

    • allisonfiorini March 2, 2016 / 8:12 am

      Thank you! I feel like camping and skiing are strength training in itself. I am totally going to try to keep it up during March!!!

  12. 50in50marathonquest March 1, 2016 / 11:41 pm

    What a great month..glad that training is still going well. I’m amazed at how much you manage to fit in!!

  13. Fallon @ Slacker Runner March 2, 2016 / 2:24 am

    Dude, your abs and your mileage- damn!! Nice month! I just barely cleared 120 miles for the year. I really need to get moving. Seriously you rock for fitting it all in!

    • allisonfiorini March 2, 2016 / 8:12 am

      Thank you, Fallon!!! And dude – 120 is AMAZING! That is a TON of miles. You are awesome!!

  14. Hanna @ TheMillennialNextDoor March 2, 2016 / 2:26 pm

    Yay! So glad to hear that you are on the up and up. I know you had some dark months last fall and it’s been so refreshing to hear you energized and happy about running again. I see only good things for your Spring season, and I can hardly believe Boston is only 6 weeks (!) away now. Are you still considering Lakefront in the fall? I’ve been strongly considering it, despite my 1-a-year rule, but of course I’ll have to wait and see how I feel post-PGH (hoping it’s not full by then!)

    • allisonfiorini March 3, 2016 / 7:36 am

      Thanks, Hanna! I am very seriously considering Lakefront. My friend, Mark, almost had me convinced to fly out with him for a marathon in Kenosha in May for some marathon (something with superheros maybe? or cheese. or both. I forget) but it doesn’t really work for my schedule this year. Plus it’s Mother’s Day weekend so I feel badly leaving my mom. I am also pretty sure it’s the weekend you are in PGH and I would have a rental car and want to catch up with you, but you won’t be there. I honestly think Lakefront is the marathon I’m targeting this fall. I will know more after Boston and Kentucky! I hope it doesn’t fill up before then either. I like the timing of Lakefront, I would get to see you, and check off a state!!!!

      • Hanna @ TheMillennialNextDoor March 3, 2016 / 10:57 am

        The Kenosha one is the Wisconsin Marathon – they have a cheese themed slogan every year, lol. I’ve heard that marathon course is kinda boring, but the half was my first half two years ago, so it holds a place in my heart because of that and the fact that it’s in my college town and runs by my alma mater. Other than that, it’s probably not something I’d do every year but I try to anyway because of the sentimental value. This year is out because of the timing with PGH (it’s actually the week after PGH but that’s too soon to run a half!).

        I think you would love Lakefront! It’s a super flat, easy course and is very highly regarded. It’s small (about 2K finishers), but spectator support is decent and it’s put on by our local running group so the volunteers and organizers are very passionate about it, some of them have been involved with the race since it was founded in the 80s. I’m hoping I’m not burned out from Pittsburgh, because I missed doing it last year and would love to do it this year. If you were there that would seal the deal for me!

      • allisonfiorini March 8, 2016 / 7:46 am

        I am really hoping Lakefront will be my fall marathon. I am going to do some research today and figure out when I would have to start training for it and see how it works. I really did want to race a fall half, but maybe I will go down and do the Philly Half in November, since Lakefront is early October! I’m going to start researching 🙂

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