Miles for Meg + The Beauty of Flexibility

Another week of training for the LA Marathon is complete. It was a good week of running and I was able to get in all my planned runs while also hitting my highest mileage (of this training cycle) – 64!

Monday: 10 treadmill miles (8:06 pace). Nothing exciting about this except that I finished watching Homeland – holy WOW. That is all I will say (I was super late to the Homeland party and started watching the show a few weeks ago). Side note: My last position in the military was division lethal targeting officer. I was in charge of the Intelligence for my division while we were stationed in Baghdad and in some ways, it was similar to things Carrie does in the show (I did not run assets or go out on my own or anything like that!) It was the best, most rewarding, exciting job I had during my six years in the Army.

army2

Me and Curt Schilling – NBD =)

Tuesday: 8 treadmill miles with a 2×2 mi tempo in the middle. Splits of 6:53, 6:48 for the first set and 6:47, 6:40 for the second (with 3 min active recovery in between). I am really happy with how this workout went. Faster paces are starting to feel more comfortable. 

Wednesday: It was a mild morning and I wanted to log some miles outside but the dense fog (0% visibility) forced me wait until it was completely light out to start and I was only able to log 5 of my 8-10 planned miles for the day. Later that afternoon, I got back on the treadmill (with both boys awake!) and was able to finish off the remaining 5 miles. 10 total for the day.

Thursday: Mile repeats. I love them and hate them. I really didn’t have a goal range in mind for the repeats – just wanted them to feel comfortably hard.  I finished each one and felt like I could push harder and so they gradually got faster. Workout was 2 mile warmup, 5×1600 (with SHORT 2 minute active recovery), 2.2 mile cooldown. Total of 8 miles. 

Friday: 8 quiet, beautiful miles on the trails and along the beach (by my house). My husband had a meeting in NYC but didn’t have to leave at his normal time, so I was able to run  than usual.  I’ve really been enjoying running my “easy” runs garmin-less lately. I started it last training cycle and found it helped me slow down and not focus on pace. And enjoy scenery like this:

photo (28)

Saturday: 18 tough miles for Meg. (In case you haven’t heard this sad story: a mom of 3 young children was hit and killed in Virginia last Monday while she was out for a training run. A virtual run was organized for Saturday and runners were asked to run in her honor.) Her story hits really close to home for me, as I’m sure it does for most runners, and I knew I wanted to run outside, on the roads, in her honor.

I think I experienced every form of precipitation on this run – first rain, snow and sleet, then rain again. There was a nice break of about 6-8 miles in which it was dry – overcast but an occasional glimpse of the sun. Then the rain started again.  And then the last few minutes I actually saw small hail coming down – Insane! Throw in that it was cold (34 degrees), windy and that I chose a hilly route (800+ ft elevation gain) and you can imagine how happy I was an hour in to this run.

I’d like to say that I felt tougher after or that I finished happy, but neither happened. It was hard from the start and I never really got into a comfortable or easy groove. 18 miles – 7:44 pace. Overall, I’m happy with the pacing, but I think those numbers are misleading. There were a few early, fast miles that threw off the average pace. I was fighting HARD just to finish the miles. But, 18 miles is 18 miles =)

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So after a couple of marathon races that didn’t go as planned last year, I find myself in a tough situation. While training for the NJ Marathon, I had the mentality of going as hard as I could to try to get the speed back post-pregnancy as fast as I could. When training for Philly began, I focused more on slowing down specific runs while also increasing the mileage. But in both instances, I bonked at mile 20-21 of my goal marathon. So which was better? Which made me stronger?

And now, here I am. 7 weeks out from the LA Marathon and unsure of and questioning my training…

Is my speedwork too fast?
Am I running too many miles?
Should I do more marathon goal pace running?
What should my goal time be?

But I think in some ways, this is a blessing in disguise. I’m coaching myself this training cycle and decided to not make a training plan weeks in advance. I am taking it week by week.  I have a range of miles I want to hit each day and generally, what type of workout I’d like to do – but no set paces, no hard numbers to hit. Which gives me flexibility while keeping the training cycle lighter and less stressful than previous ones. And I think this is best for me given how stressed I became during my last few marathon training cycles.

Did you run for Meg this weekend?

How flexible are you during a marathon training cycle?

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I don’t post here every day, but I post all of my workouts (and other happenings) on Instagram on a daily basis {NYCRunningMama}.

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    13 thoughts on “Miles for Meg + The Beauty of Flexibility

    1. Pingback: Keeping The Dream Alive

    2. I don’t even discover how My partner and i finished up right here, however assumed this specific create was excellent. I really don’t acknowledge that you can be however unquestionably you will definitely a popular doodlekit for those who are not previously. Many thanks!

    3. There are many ways to produce the same training adaptation, so I think your approach this cycle is very smart. I train a lot like this these days, as my base is such that I am not a psycho about running to plan – as long as my long runs and MP workouts take place when I need them to, and I am getting a midweek med-long run, I switch up the rest and run adaptively. Worked well for a Boston, NYC, 50k year, but now it’s time for speed for me in 2014. I would say hit some more MP long workouts, but you are unsure what that pace should be and I am very empathetic on that score! Awesome pacing on the 18, btw!! Hope you’re feeling good today.
      Cindy @ Kicking it In recently posted..Don’t look around, look within: Six tips for motivation that moves you.My Profile

    4. I ran for Meg on Saturday. Specifically spent the 4 miles thinking of her family. Sending them prayers. It’s so hard to lose a spouse. My husband died when I was just 25. Cancer, so not unexpected…but nonetheless I can’t help but think of the burden that Meg’s husband will have to carry. He’s going to need all the strength he can get to continue to grieve/heal and to raise those kids simultaneously.

      I am definitely flexible when it comes to marathon training. For instance, tomorrow is supposed to be 4 mile tempo run. But I know work is going to be insane and I don’t particularly want to run in the cold and dark of morn. Not to mention we’re getting some snow here tomorrow. So I’m just moving it to Wednesday. I really want to make sure I don’t just skip it. But moving it a day is totally just fine=)
      sally @ sweat out the small stuff recently posted..I need a month not a weekend!My Profile

    5. Looks like a great week for you and what a view for that 10 miler! I also ran 10 for Meg (on Sunday) and it absolutely hit home. Such a senseless thing!
      I try to be flexible with my training program and I was just sick for the last 6 days of it so…back on track now but have to ease back into training.
      Allie recently posted..The RundownMy Profile

    6. You had an awesome week Michele! Flexibility is key in training for me. I absolutely can’t stick to hard set plans each week, it just doesn’t work. I know your instinct says to question your training, my advice…just go with it. I think you have already made some great changes (maybe a less strict numbers approach is better for you? less stress?) and give it time to see what happens. You are obviously a strong runner, and LA is going to be a great race for you. Just keep running and working hard and NOT stressing!
      Laura @losingrace recently posted..That Week that Didn’t Go as Planned (but kind of did)My Profile

    7. I don’t think there’s any one right way to train for a marathon but rather doing what’s right for you and your body. I can get too in my head worrying about whether I’m doing enough or running fast enough. Learning to trust my training has been hard but on race day I’m confident and typically execute well. I know the whole story ins’t on the blog but it seems like you train really well and then get too in your head on race day. I remember a post about finishing faster instead of running consistent paces. If that’s what works best for you in training, do that in your race and don’t worry about how other people are pacing themselves. Do what you trained to do
      Shannon @ Mon Amour recently posted..Team SOAS!My Profile

    8. This is coming from someone that is not a qualified trainer or coach or anything else, but I love your bog and your honesty in all posts. Is it possible that it’s not your run training, but your race execution that causes you to bonk at that point? You have probably already considered all angles – it is just a thought I had based on what you have written. Knock ‘em out in LA!

      • Thanks so much, Naomi! I think you are 100% right. I think it’s more than likely my execution on race day that causes my bonking – I know without a doubt that I started NJ was too fast. I kept that in mind for Philly, but I guess I still went out too fast.
        But I also think that the amount of stress/worrying that goes on in my head in the days/weeks leading up to it are affecting race performance.
        It’s easy to tell myself to not stress out or start too fast…but then it happens all over again at the next race :/
        nycrunningmama recently posted..Miles for Meg + The Beauty of FlexibilityMy Profile

    9. I did my first post-marathon run for Meg on Saturday. It was a short 1.5 mile run, but was able to run it faster than I expected to, without pushing to run it faster.

      For my spring half, I’m using Runner’s World Smart Coach, so that I can adjust if it feels too aggressive, or if I have to miss runs. I’m excited to have something to push me with goal paces, as I’ve never done that for my training before.
      Cyanne (RunStretchGo) recently posted..WDW Marathon Recap: Making it through my first 26.2My Profile

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