The period in between training cycles is always a hard time for me. It’s my nature to want to keep moving forward and pushing hard to improve. But, the reality is that although some people can keep up the intensity and mileage each week of the year, neither my body nor my mind can handle it. I need a bit of a break from the routine and following a training plan.
That’s not to say that I am not running or doing speed workouts or even running long. I am. Running makes me happy and it’s the best way for me to start the day and I’ve never been a fan of taking long periods of time off (I find I do much better with easy runs / lower mileage). Right now, it’s very unstructured. I decide what kind of speedwork I feel like doing when it’s time to start. I have a very wide range of miles I hope to hit for my long run (usually 4-6 miles). I allow myself to sleep in if I’m not feeling great, not feeling a run or if the weather is lousy. Rather than trying to get faster or run longer, my focus is more on just maintaining.
Maintain a steady, strong base so that when it’s time to train, I am ready to put my head down and grind out 14, 15 weeks of hard training for Boston.
And focus on getting stronger. The stronger I am, the faster I (hopefully) can run for 26.2 miles. So lots of strength and core work. Things like squats, lunges, pushups, v-ups, wall sits and so on. I don’t have a set workout that I do – but I will share (next week) some of my favorite moves that I try to incorporate. I still haven’t found a good system to do these exercises – the mornings are so jam-packed and I have no desire to get up any earlier and I’m too tired by the evenings to make it a regular occurrence. I’m hoping to start going to the gym over my lunch hour at least 2x/week to do more focused-strength work. I won’t have time to run (with the exception of the day after my long run, my daily mileage is often 7+ miles), but I can get in a good, hard 30-minute workout and only be away from my desk for an hour. Several people in my office head to the gym daily, so hoping it’s something I can institute in the New Year.
For the last few weeks, my weekly mileage has been in the upper 40s-mid-50s range with one day off. Once I get into marathon training, I’ll return to running 7x/week with a day off every couple of weeks, as necessary, so the weekly mileage will naturally jump up to the mid to upper 50s. My plan is to have similar mileage this cycle (as I had with Wineglass – usually in the low to mid-60s). My body reacted well to that mileage and I’m not sure that I would have the time to run much more even if I wanted to.
But I’m also being realistic about my mileage and frequency. There is a difference between running 60+ MPW while being a SAHM and trying to run that mileage while working outside the house. I don’t have any flexibility with my running now – so I know there will be plenty of mornings where I decide to sleep in or that I can’t run outside b/c of icy roads and I have no desire to head to the treadmill again. Or that one of my sons wakes up early and wants to cuddle on the couch or play “Go Fish”. I can’t put off my run until “later” and running won’t (and shouldn’t) always trump. So I’ll plan for the same mileage/frequency/intensity and hope for the best, but I’ll be okay with a cycle that doesn’t follow the plan completely because I have other priorities these days.
Highlights from the last week
- 4 days off from running for recovery from 25k last Saturday
- Friday: Cutdown moderate-paced 10 miles. After the race the previous weekend, I wasn’t ready for hard speedwork, so decided to start easy and pick up pace a bit as run went along. Splits: 8:01, 7:52, 7:53, 7:47, 7:52, 7:45, 7:40, 7:36, 7:22, 7:03. Average: 7:41
- Saturday: 8 trail miles. I’ve decided to shift my focus after Boston and go after a few ultra trails races (more on this soon!), so I’m trying to spend more time on the trails when I can
- Sunday: 16 moderate-paced miles (7:42 pace). Didn’t have any real goal for this run. My legs were a bit sore and I just felt sluggish, but the paces were still pretty fast (for me) for this run. It was amazing to run in a tank and shorts in mid-December – and feel warm! I ran mostly blind (I couldn’t only see mile splits). Splits: 8:09, 7:51, 7:49, 7:46, 7:50, 7:50, 7:45, 7:37, 7:38, 7:39, 7:41, 7:33, 7:35, 7:42, 7:21, 7:13
- Sunday evening: Christmas show at the St George theater on Staten Island – such a fun, entertaining show!
- Wednesday evening: Holiday drinks with my office and then dinner at Bobby Vans (amazing!) with my husband!
- Thursday: 11 miles with 4x tempo cutdown. I’ll be sharing this workout (and others) on Women’s Running next week – so stay tuned! But it’s a butt-kicking, fun workout that helps you focus on picking up the pace as the tempo portion progresses.
Any fun speed workouts to share?
Hope you have a great weekend! <3