I received a lot of positive feedback about the new PR Spotlight feature. I am SO excited at the wide range of runners that will be featured in the coming weeks!!!
This week the spotlight is on Katie from MsFitRunner. I didn’t start reading her blog until a few months ago but am already totally hooked. Her writing is casual, funny, and inspiring – all at the same time. She makes you feel as though you are sitting on the couch with her, having a one-on-one conversation. Not only is she super sweet and down to earth, she is crazy fast – despite only running seriously for a few years, Katie is already running sub-3 marathons. Amazing. And did I mention that she’s gorgeous too? =)
I’m definitely going to use some of her advice as I begin training for a spring marathon. And plan on repeating You can ALWAYS do more than you think you can during some of my tougher runs. Perfect inspiration.
How long have you been running? I started really getting into running after I had my third baby in early 2010 – I dabbled in it for a few years, but was having babies and was not getting into the running groove!
Why did you start running? It worked with my lifestyle. I really started to get into it after I got my sub 1:30 half in the summer of 2011. I had never done speedwork, followed a plan or even taken my running seriously. I didn’t have a gps watch and never paid attention to my pace. A 1:29:xx time was a dream, nothing I thought I would achieve any time soon – then it just happened and I started thinking this could be fun and I might actually be decent at it. Now, with three little ones, aged 2 1/2 to 6, it truly is my sanity. It is my time. I love it more and more every season. It let’s me challenge myself in so many ways. It gives me some balance from being a stay at home mom.
Favorite Race Distance/Why? This is a tough one. I would have said marathon because it is such a challenge. But, the truth is, I love all distances for all reasons. The 5k is brutal and tough, fast and challenging – it teaches you how to run through the hurt. The half marathon is endurance and speed combined – I love it all, but I would say my focus and my love is for the marathon. That is until I get an ultra under my belt;-)
10k: 39:28, non tapered, after two speed sessions and a 16 mile tempo the day before
First Marathon time/when: 3:37, ING Hartford marathon in 2008, my oldest just turned 2 and my second daughter was 10 months old. I didn’t do another marathon until 2011.
Previous Marathon PR/when: before my 2:57 in Harrisburg, PA this fall 2012, I ran a 3:21 and a 3:42 in the spring of the 2012. In the fall of 2011, I ran a 3:17 then a 3:11 four weeks later, exactly one year before my current PR. In all, I ran 5 marathons within a one year time span. My current PR was run in the same race that held my previous PR.
What did you do differently in your training to drop so much time off from your spring to fall marathon? Long story short, my spring marathons were disasters. I was coming off of bad shin splints and a lot of time off running – I was mentally burnt out and probably should not have run them. I do believe everything happens for a reason, and as terrible as those races were, they made me a stronger, smarter runner today. There are a couple of things off the top of my head that made a difference in my training for this fall marathon :
- #1- more miles - I never kept track of miles before, but I can tell you based on my mileage for this past marathon, it never exceeded 35-40 miles per week. This time, I was mainly in the high 40′s and 50′s with about a month in the low 60′s and one 70 mile week. It was a lot of work to get those miles in!
- #2- slowing down any runs that weren’t speed/tempo workouts and running those workout days harder. This was the biggest lesson I have learned as a runner – not to be afraid of slowing it down. I used to need to run every run faster and faster. I would cringe at the thought of running close to an 8 minute mile. But, all that was doing was leaving me fatigued and tired and not able to do any true “work” that would give me fitness and speed gains. This time, I embraced the 8 minute+ mile and had more energy and stamina to run hard in the workouts that mattered. That’s not to say those workouts were easy – and there were many days in the beginning of training that I highly doubted and was not seeing how it would translate into a fast marathon, because I couldn’t always hit the workouts – but I stuck with it, never gave up and trusted that I would see improvement with hard work
- #3- recovery - this is just as important as training. This is where your body makes the adaptations. This is where your body gets stronger. I listened to my body and if I needed an extra day off, I took it and if I felt strong, I would work harder and do more. I always took a at least one day off a week. This was a progression as well – when I started training for this past marathon, I couldn’t run more than 2 days in a row and couldn’t do double-digit runs to be cautious of the shin splints. By the end, I was running 6 days in a row and up to 60 miles.
- #4- staying focused and keeping my eye on the goal. Goals are so important, whatever they are. Visualization is really important – picturing that finish line. It got me up at 4am to get my workouts in and kept me running hard when it got really hard. I am a no excuses kind of gal. I just can’t tolerate them. Excuses do not help you grow and achieve any goal.
- #5- racing during training. I need to give more credit to this – I raced more in training for this than I ever had – I would take anything, 5ks, 10ks, just to practice everything about racing – the pacing, the weather, the fueling, it is a great way to train.
What do you attribute the most to you PR’ing? (speed, tempo, mileage, etc) I would attribute it mainly to the mileage increase, then the tempo runs and consistency. My go to run was a nice 10 miler. I loved that. I love the tempo runs. I also love intervals. I rarely did mile repeats or shorter speedwork, like strides, 400′s, 800′s, never happened. Although, I do think those would have been highly beneficial and plan on incorporating them next time.
What is your next race/goal? I am undecided if I will run a spring marathon or not. If I do a spring one, it will probably just be training to keep me in marathon mode and I would go for another PR in the fall of 2013. Whether I do a spring one or not, I will train like I am, and will probably train as if I were going for a PR. I’m considering the Vermont City Marathon at the end of May if I do one. I plan on running at least two half marathons – one in February and one in June. The June half will be my goal half, where I would love to PR and even get in the 1:20:xx, I’m all about big goals! Other than that, I usually grab 5 and 10k’s whenever I can. I want to break all of my PR’s next year! I will probably do something with the Hartford marathon next fall- undecided on the half or full. That one holds my current half PR, and I loved that race.
What piece of advice would you give to someone who is looking to PR? Be patient and stick with your training. Be consistent and increase mileage gradually. Set big goals and then smaller goals to hit on the way. Don’t give up if it doesn’t happen right away. You can have perfect training and just a bad race day. Don’t focus on the numbers as much as how you are feeling. I think one of the biggest contributors to my half marathon PR was my attitude – I went into it purely to enjoy it and to FEEL strong and confident. That confidence WILL play itself out through your legs, in the race. Put in the extra effort. You can ALWAYS do more than you think you can.
Have you been to Katie’s blog before?
What’s your marathon goal? (Mine is sub-3:10 this spring!)
Are you running this weekend?
You can still enter and donate to the RACE FOR RECOVERY 5k/10k (deadline is 11:59 PM EST on Saturday, Dec 8th)! We have collected over $9,700!