Goodbye April, Hello Recovery!

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  1. Total run miles for April: 207
  2. Miles run, year to date: 1000.3
  3. Number of races in April: 5 (wtf)
  4. Longest run in April: 26.42 miles (too much weaving in Boston)
  5. Highest volume week in April: 58.1 miles

My mileage was almost 100 miles less in April due to tapering, racing and recovering. I was excited that I crested the 200 mile mark at all, and I’m on track to meet my goal of 2,500 miles for the year. I need to be at 1,250 in June. I expect to have a low volume month for May, but to start increasing mileage again in June. My mileage wasn’t as high in April as it was the over the past few months, but this month might go down as my best month of racing ever. I raced (or paced) every single weekend during this month. It began with winning a 10 mile road race, and ended with winning a marathon. I don’t think I could ever top that.

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Just like the past few months, I can truly say that each and every mile brought me a lot of joy. There were a lot of huge breakthroughs for me this month. The biggest breakthrough was running a marathon PR: a target I kept shooting for, but missed for the past two years.

While it goes down as one of the best months ever, April was a funny month for running. We had everything from snowy winter weather, to almost summer temps. The first week, I ran a 10 mile road race in the pouring rain. It was a minute off of my PR from March, but I won the race and ran on effort. It was a huge confidence boost just a few weeks out from Boston. The following week was spent pacing a half marathon in a snowstorm. It was my first time ever pacing the 1:40 group and I was nervous with the weather conditions, but it went really well and I enjoyed pacing that time. When Boston finally rolled around, it was way too warm. It resulted in a course PR, but still not the 3:05 goal I’d set for myself.

The Sunday following Boston, I paced the St. Luke’s half marathon. The weather was ideal, and I got to pace the 1:45 group. I really enjoyed pacing 1:40, but 1:45 is my favorite time to pace. St. Luke’s was my first ever race, so it makes me happy to be able to pace it and give back to the running community.

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I spent the week after St. Luke’s running easy miles in preparation of my final marathon of the season. I’m not going to lie – I felt a little burned out and was ready for some recovery. I didn’t look at my calendar closely enough when I was committing to these events and didn’t realize how close they all were to each other.

It was a rainy day in Kentucky, but I finally did it. After two years of trying everything I could possibly think of and failing, I broke my PR. I ran a 3:02:19 at the Kentucky Derby Marathon, and I was the first overall female! It was one of my most favorite days to be a runner, ever. Not just because winning a marathon felt pretty freaking cool. I poured my everything into training for the past two years and I finally had my day. I am still on such a high from that moment.

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With the racing/tapering/carb loading, I gained about two pounds back of the 13 I’d lost. I anticipated gaining a few pounds back over these past few weeks, and I felt really good racing at the weight I got down to. I also realized how much better I feel when I eat a certain way. I really love junk food, but over the past few months I’ve learned that I might like feeling better more. It’s a lot easier for me to have a cheat day, but get right back on track the next day. Moving forward through my recovery, I will certainly be more relaxed about my diet but I plan to continue my eating habits. It’s not even really a question anymore – it’s become my lifestyle. That was my ultimate goal from the start of that conquest.

Moving into May, I plan on still running easy miles but I’m giving myself some “rules”. Nothing over 10 miles, and no speed. Maybe I’ll pick up the pace towards the end of the month to get my legs moving, but there will be no track workouts or pace specific work until June. I’d like to get back on some real trails to do some trail running, and I’m eyeing up a trail race in late May. Mostly, I don’t want my focus to be on running. I want to spend a lot of time in the pole studio and work on strength. My pole competition is on May 21st, so I have the rest of this month to prepare for it.

In the pole world, I didn’t learn many new moves since I’m still preparing for the competition. Busting up my big toe right before Boston scared me a lot little, so I’ve been a little more intimidated of pole class. And rightfully so – it is a dangerous sport, and while I’ve benefited so much from building up that kind of strength, I also have to be mindful of the consequences. I’m not planning to back off or stop doing it, but I don’t have quite the fearless attitude I’ve had since I began the sport.

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I continued my ❤️ StrongBody Streak through April, but I did take a few days off surrounding Boston and Kentucky. I can see a huge difference with just a little bit of strength training. Although I plan to be relaxed with running throughout May, I will be focusing on strength training. Without racing, I can do actual “leg” days with weights and build some additional strength and balance.

Moving forward to May, I have a few goals – but mostly recovery goals!

  • Strength training – stick with my 15 minutes each day. Keep the emphasis on core/hips/glutes, but really pay some extra attention to legs now that my mileage and intensity will ease up.
  • Diet: Keep up the healthy eating, and cook every single recipe in this:
    imageCook’s Illustrated is my most favorite cooking resource. Their cookbooks are like textbooks. They don’t cater to any diet or lifestyle, so if I wanted to make a “paleo” version of their recipes, I end up tweaking it on my own. They came out with a magazine full of 73 Paleo recipes, and I almost passed out from excitement when I saw it at the checkout line in the grocery store. The authors realize that there are different definitions of Paleo, so they designed the recipes by adhering to the most strict paleo guidelines they could find. It might take me the whole summer, but I want to cook my way through it, cover to cover.
  • Pole Fitness: Compete in my first pole competition!
  • Cross Training: I want to get on my bike and get to some yoga classes this month. Maybe, if I get really motivated, I’ll get back in the pool.
  • Instagram some more fun pictures as the weather gets nicer!

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How was your month? Any goals for May?

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65 Replies to “Goodbye April, Hello Recovery!”

  1. Your race calendar for April was crazy! And I’m so impressed that you turned right around from Boston and ran another marathon 2 weeks later with a PR! You are a superstar!

      1. Since you do back-to-back(ish) marathons so often: I just ran 26.2 on Sunday and am thinking about tackling another on 5/28 since my race Sunday didn’t go very well. Any tips on how to recovery/maintain in between?

      2. I would recover this week, ease back into it next week, and then do a two week taper. Do you have a plan you normally follow? If so, follow the last two weeks of whatever plan you used for this marathon leading up to the next one. Don’t do a “peak week” next week or anything like that, just run easy. Maybe do a few 800s one day to keep your legs fresh but I don’t even think need to do that.

        What I personally like to do is adapt Pfitzinger’s multiple marathoning schedule to fit whatever the time frame is. He has plans that show you how to do two marathons with four weeks in between. They are super helpful and I highly recommend the book!

        If you want help coming up with something, feel free to shoot me an email and I would totally be glad to give you some tips! allison.fiorini@gmail.com 🙂 I vote GO FOR IT!

      3. Thanks!! I was kind of thinking along those lines so I’m glad I’m on the right track! You’re the expert! 🙂 I want to check out Pfitz plans for my next training cycle; from what I’ve read I think it would mesh well with my preferences. I’ll email you if I have any questions. Thanks for offering!

  2. You had such a great month! April was really good for me too. I hit my highest mileage week ever (55 miles) and remained very consistent in my training for Colfax. May is going to be awesome. My only running goal is to finish the marathon and then I leave for Europe with my mom!

    1. GREAT job this month! You’ve really been killing it with your Colfax training. I’m so excited for you, and hope I can track you on race day! You have to keep us posted on that. And, Europe! I believe you did mention that before. THAT is the ultimate reward!!!!! So freaking cool.

      1. Haha! Yeah, I am going to send out a post next week about goals and tracking. And Europe is going to be awesome!!!

  3. April was ok, besides the week both me and Amelia were sick. I even did a few speed workouts. My May goal is to keep getting outside with the stroller, (if it would ever stop raining) do some strength training, and get ready for next months stroller-less 5k. (I’m dying for s post-partum PR!!!!!)

    1. I am SO SICK of the rain. I planned to take this week off of running complete, but I’d hoped to get out on my bike. No dice. I guess I could go swim but that sounds like too much work right now 🙂 🙂 You are so on track for a post partum PR! I am going to sign up for the Jacobsburg 10 mile, Funk 5 mile, and ODDessy Half. Are you doing any of those?

      1. I really wanted to do Jburg, but I don’t think it will work out. Doing a 5k at the beach Memorial day weekend, and the 5k next month is at the new section of the IRT!

  4. I don’t think I’ll tire of seeing that picture of your breaking tape. What an awesome moment!

    Have you ever posted your core/glute workout? I know it involves myrtles and that is all I can remember. Maybe you shared it on Facebook. I have slipped off the strength training bandwagon and need to get back on. It’s official: 15 minutes a day starting next week!

    1. So about that picture, get this (I’m on a roll with the ranting today): Marathon Foto sent all race participants an email saying our photos are ready. That was the photo they used! Which is really really cool – but when I clicked on my name, they only had one picture of me at the start with some random girl. NOTHING of me crossing the finish or breaking tape. This was on Monday night when we got the email, and I was sick over it – I was so upset. So I “stole” that shot off of my email, which is how I have the one in my post. Yesterday I was using the live chat feature on their site to talk to a few of their reps. They found 10 more shots of me crossing the finish and claimed they gave them all to me. Except the one I have that they used in the promo email WAS NOT ONE OF THEM. I want to buy all of them, and I especially want that one! I also mentioned how I saw photographers on the course and that I KNOW there have to be more pictures of me. Plus they had me take a whole bunch of pictures with my awards. They are still looking for them. How does that happen?! I am not letting them off the hook that easy. The rep and I were emailing today and she said her supervisor is on it because something is definitely not right and there are more shots.

      I am totally off all wagons this week!! I do MYRTLs, and I use an app called 30 days and keep a bunch of challenges going – bridges, leg raises, hip drops, and planks. I also use the NTC app for 15 minute workouts to mix it up!

      1. Okay. What the hell. How do they lose all the photos of the top finisher?! Especially when they obviously have that photo somewhere?! I hope they find them. I would be sick over this too. At least you were able to grab this one off the email while you wait for them to do their job.

      2. There are about 10 of them now from the finish line, which I am super excited about. But all of the ones are from the finish line. I looked up the male winner and actually he doesn’t have too many either, but he has more than I do. WTF!! Marathon Foto needs to get their shit together.

  5. Congrats on an awesome month of running!! I’m proud of you for taking some real, genuine recovery time and really embracing it – not just reduced miles (I’m not gonna run double digits this month either!) but also exploring some of your other interests. Being well rounded is really important and the paradox of improving at something is that we sometimes we have to take a break from it so we can continue to get better. I’m happy for you that your healthy eating has gotten more enjoyable and ingrained in your lifestyle as well!

    I have no running related goals for May, since I will be easing back into running (GPS free!) and then taking the summer off from racing and “training”. My biggest goal is to complete my “Minimalism May” blog series.

    1. I LOVE that – Minimalism May!!! I am so going to keep that in mind with my workouts. I am concerned about getting out of shape but I did it over the holidays and it helped. I am going to talk about it more in my weekly update but I want to do more active recovery this time. Last time, I had some weeks of total inactivity and I want to avoid that, but I do not want to stress myself out with working out and I don’t want to call anything I am doing “training”. That makes it sound like I HAVE to do it, and I only want to do workouts that I want to do. This week, however, has been pretty inactive. I planned it that way though. It feels GREAT! Enjoy your recovery, too – YOU EARNED IT, BADASS!!!

  6. I think 197 is my highest month…now you have me thinking, why haven’t I tried to break 200…fun new goal! I definitely feel like doing just a little strength each day keeps me on it, instead of trying to make a full long session 3 or 4 times.

    1. Hi Amanda!!! Yeah, I did the little daily strength sessions all throughout my training for Boston/KY and it made a HUGE difference. I was able to squeeze it in because I did bodyweight exercises, so even on my lunch at work I could knock out some core work if I had to. Made it so much more doable. Get that 200 mile month!!! You can do it!!!!!!

  7. You pretty much had the best month ever. I am SO proud of you. Now that I’ve been seriously training for a marathon, I’m wondering where my weight should be. I guess every runner wonders this, eh? I’m going to look for that recipe magazine today. I really need to get my shit together in the nutrition department, like really bad. My eating habits are horrific.

    1. I am 5’2 and I was able to maintain 110 for racing and I felt good. At one point, I got down to 108 but I could not maintain that so I think it was too low. I would like to try again and see if I can race at 105, but I am not willing to starve myself to do it. I love food too much, as you know from my post race eats that I text you, hahahah ❤

    1. Thanks girl! I feel good about taking some down time. I was worried about it in the fall, but after seeing how much better I felt training this time around, I am so on board!

  8. Your April was awesome. It’s great to see how you excelled at so many different races. I love the photo of you crossing the KD finish. You look happy and it’s awesome to see that pure joy in your eyes.

  9. That picture!!! It totally captures the pure joy you were feeling! That was an insane April and I can’t believe that 200 miles is a low month for you!!! How do you fit it all in?! Your May plans of recovery and focusing on your pole competition sound like the perfect fall to your April month of racing and winning!

    1. I am thinking I won’t get close to 200 miles at all this month for sure! It’s totally a challenge to fit them in. But, I think a little mileage reduction will help tremendously moving forward. I am excited for a nice, relaxing month!

    1. Thank you! I really thought that it was game over after I screwed up my toe. It still hurts and if I bump it the wrong way, it totally swells up. I absolutely hyperextended/strained it. I am so grateful I was able to run any races at all!!!

  10. Your April was my February where I got my PRs in the 5k, 10k, and 1/2 marathon. I seriously should’ve run a marathon LOL!!!!

    Ahhhh, I love reading about your running. You seem to know exactly what you’re doing. ❤

  11. What an incredible month for you! You definitely deserve the rest and recovery. Enjoy!

  12. Enjoy a little bit of a break, and I can’t wait to hear how the pole competition goes – that’s going to be so awesome!

    Have you written about why you eat Paleo? I’m so interested in why people eat the way that they do.

    1. Thank you!!!! I did a “demo” (kind of like a recital) on Saturday and that went really well. I’m getting so excited! I’ve never written a whole post on why I eat Paleo, but maybe I should 🙂 I like to actually call myself “paleo-ish” because I don’t follow it all of the time. I’d say 90% of my week is paleo when I’m “on the wagon” (I was way off last week, haha). I have more energy, and my stomach feels much better when I eat that way. I know it isn’t right for everyone, but I’ve had a ton of success with it! Plus, I love all of the food so I never feel like I’m on a diet.

  13. You’ve worked SO hard over the last couple months, and it really paid off. Rest & recovery probably sounds like heaven right now!! I’m so glad you went through this training cycle with so much joy and really loved running. It stinks when you’re working hard but every run and workout feels like a chore.

  14. Allison, you’re seriously amazing. You’re right about April being such a crazy weather month! It seems like we still had great running success, despite the rain and snow. I’m excited to see what you can accomplish in May!

  15. Oh my gosh, how did I miss that you won (WON!) Kentucky?! Huge congratulations. That picture of you breaking the tape is immense, love it. You work so hard, and your fantastic April was very much deserved!
    Mine kind of sucked….so obviously May will be better. 🙂

  16. What an awesome month! It’s so great when all the hard training pays off!
    How do you know when you’re recovered enough and ready to jump back into training? I only run about 60 miles/week during marathon training, but had some pretty significant symptoms of overtraining last fall and never really recovered (regression in performance this spring). Do you have certain times when you just know to back off?

    1. Thank you, Bethany! I am actually starting to think that to avoid overtraining during the season, the recovery after goal races is super important. I never used to actually “take time off” or go easy. I was forced to this past year over the holidays (I got sick) and I think that could be a huge key to avoiding overtraining. I jumped in and felt crappy when I began training. As soon as my legs got on board with running again, I felt fresh. I also think it’s important to be just as focused on diet, hydration, and sleep during training. I’m pretty lame during marathon training, but it seemed to really make a huge difference this time around!!

      1. Thanks for the reply! I’ll take some extra time off and see if that fixes things. It likely can’t make it any worse!

      2. I was thinking about this today. I wear a fit bit and while I don’t do any heart rate training, I do pay attention to my resting heart rate. For the most part, the more miles I run the lower it gets. But after my last marathon it shot up so I didn’t run until it dropped again. Do you monitor your heart rate at all? That’s more of a new thing for me.

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