2016 Boston Marathon Training (T-10) + How to Do Speedwork on Treadmill

I hope you all had an amazing Valentine’s Day with the ones you love! My guys and I got to spend the evening out – all dressed up. It was a great way to spend the holiday!

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So we are 9 weeks out from race day. After a less-than-ideal couple of weeks of training, last week was a solid and strong week back. 63+ miles over 7 days of running. Coach and I have left one day mid-week as an optional rest day. Last week was the first week in months where I felt that I didn’t need it. I usually take it because I’m tired from not enough sleep. But, everything flowed so effortlessly last week that I didn’t feel exhausted or that I needed a morning to sleep in. So I skipped the rest day and did an easy run. I definitely think that if time or sleep were not an issue, I would be able to run 7 days a week for a stretch of time. My body responded well to that in the summer/fall. But the reality is that not every week will look and feel like last week did.

Here’s how the week broke down:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday
5, 8, 8, 7, 6 miles

All easy miles. Monday should have been a 10 miler but after Sunday’s long run, it turned in to a recovery run instead and I wanted another easy day before speed, so Tuesday remained an easy day.

Some days outside; other days on the treadmill. Last week, as most of you know and experienced, was really cold and bitter – so the roads were icy some days, which meant more treadmill running than I would have liked. And then a few other days, I just wasn’t up to dealing with the cold and wind at 5am. I’d much rather save my mental strength for running long in the cold, so recovery miles on the treadmill are a saving grace.

Wednesday – Lots of 600s
Planned: 2 up, 12×600 @ 6:10-6:15, 2 down
Actual: 2 up, 12 x 600, 2 down

I forced myself to ease in to this workout. The 12 reps intimidated me a bit and I wanted to make sure I saved some energy and leg strength for the last few. The last time I did 600s was a few weeks ago and it felt like a struggle the entire time.

First two were 6:15 pace. After that, I felt like I had warmed up and was ready to start working a bit harder.

The next 6 were 6:10 pace. These felt really, really good. It’s about 2:20 of running – not long, but recovery is only about 1:00, so it goes quick. Each rep I would focus on getting to a minute and then halfway and then I’d start to count down.

#s 9-11: 6:07 pace. Number 11 is when things started to get tough, but when you are so close to being finished with a workout, the pain is expected and you see the end in sight, so it’s much easier to put your head down and work through it.

The last one was a 6:00 pace. I wanted to finish strong with my fastest split of the day. This one hurt most of all, but I got it done and was able to reward myself with just about 2 miles of easy running.

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I didn’t watch anything on tv for this workout. I wanted to concentrate on my form and breathing and didn’t want to be distracted.

I sometimes get asked about how to tackle speedwork on the treadmill. Mostly about the logistics and timing issues. 600m repeats are .375 miles – my treadmill only shows tenths of a mile – so I can see .3 and then .4. Definitely makes speed work interesting, but there are a few things I do:

  1. Treadmill takes some time to catch up to speed, so wait until it’s moving at desired pace before you start the timer. I start increasing the pace about 7-10 seconds before I need to be running at full speed. This gives the belt time to hit the desired pace by the time it’s time to jump into the next interval.
  2. Always assume more time on the treadmill and less time for recovery. So for this workout, the 600s likely took me about 2:15-2:18. So I ran for 2:20 for each one (it ended up being close to 2:30 because of the time it took the treadmill to reach desired pace). And the recovery periods were 200m or .125. I was running at a 10:00 pace, so I assumed about a minute of recovery.
  3. Use a watch or phone timer to count time. You can program your watch or phone timer for a specific amount of time. Then when the treadmill reaches the desired pace, hit “start” and run until the watch/timer beeps.
  4. Adjust pace as necessary. If you are an incline lover (like me!), then the pace doesn’t need to be adjusted much (if at all). However, if you aren’t used to the incline or prefer to not do speedwork with the treadmill inclined, than adjust your pace to better mimic being on the roads. I prefer to use 1% incline than increase the pace. 0% incline and adjusted pace just feels too easy for me – my legs are moving much, much faster than they would outside and it just feels different. When I use a 1% incline, it feels almost identical to how it feels outside and so I feel that I am getting the same workout as I would if I were outdoors. Regardless of which you prefer, ensure that something gets adjusted!
  5. Add some rolling hills. I try to incorporate some rolling hills when I do tempos or longer intervals on the treadmill. Even short jumps to 1.5-2.5% for 15-30 seconds is more than enough to simulate some rolling hills!

Saturday – Longest, coldest Run
Planned: 19-20 miles @ moderate pace
Actual: 20.24 miles @ 7:35 pace

I did that 19 miler on the treadmill a few weeks ago and felt like I had cheated myself. Mentally, running on the treadmill is tougher. But, I always feel like I got a better workout outdoors. I try to simulate the runs on the treadmill by varying the elevation, increasing the pace, but for me, a treadmill run is physically easier. I have no intention of showing up to Boston with any regrets or thinking that I should have run outside more. I am on the treadmill enough during the week because of icy roads and dark conditions that I feel like my weekends NEED to be on the roads. Especially the long runs.

So, I chose the roads despite 20-25 mph winds and a real feel of 2 degrees. Honestly though, with the exception of the wind at times, it was really not bad. I was warm and comfortable. The baklava was annoying at times, but it did its job and kept my face warm and wind-burn free.

I think what helped was that I told myself to just do a chunk of miles outside. If it was unbearable, I could come in and finish on the treadmill. 12-13 sounds a lot better than 20. So, I had 7-8 miles in my mind. Anything more than that would be a bonus. 20.24 miles later and I was inside warming up in the shower (I had only about 20 min from the time I finished running until I needed to be in the car to go to my sons’ soccer clinic).

I was expecting a slower-than-usual run because of the temps and wind and I didn’t want the pace to get into my mind, so I changed the display on my Garmin so I could just see the total time. I ended up running much faster than I was expecting – or what I thought I was running. The entire run felt comfortable and relaxed – I picked up the pace for the last mile, but it was never all out or close to a hard effort.

My fuel for this run also was different. My husband and I are doing a sort of reset right now, so I didn’t want gels or chomps (which is a lot of sugar). I started the run on an empty stomach (I had only been up about 45 min and had a cup of coffee). At miles 5, 11 and 17, I briefly stopped to drink about 1/3 bottle of water mixed with 1.5 scoops of Generation uCan. It provided me the energy that I needed to keep running. I tried to keep the stops as short as possible – but they were a touch longer than usual simply b/c of all the layers I had to remove (gloves + mittens and face mask).

Splits: 7:42, 7:37, 7:53, 7:46, 7:44, 7:46, 7:40, 7:33, 7:35, 7:33, 7:33, 7:37, 7:38, 7:32, 7:30, 7:34, 7:25, 7:30, 7:32, 7:07, 6:46 (last .24)

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I’m working from home today (yay!) because my husband is away and my kids are off this week and childcare just didn’t line up. Thankful that I have so much family close by to help out (my sis and brother-in-law will be over shortly to watch the boys so I can work).

This is a big weekend as well. I have been working with MontMorency Cherries (choosecherries.com) the last few months and they are sending out a crew to film/photograph me for some new ads for Women’s Running as well as for some stuff on their website.

Have a great Wednesday! =)

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    4 thoughts on “2016 Boston Marathon Training (T-10) + How to Do Speedwork on Treadmill

    1. Great week of workouts! I love all the helpful tips on fueling and treadmill stuff. I would love to hear all about your weekly nutrition! You look freaking amazing!!

    2. Just wanted to say hi – I’ve come across your race recaps before, and saw that we ran almost the exact same time in Boston last year! You are killing it with your training this time around! :) I’m so excited to be going back; last year’s Boston was seriously the best race day ever.

    3. The frozen tears on the eye lashes – oh my goodness!

      Love following your blog through Facebook and Instagram. I have no idea how you managed 19 miles on the treadmill, I struggle to not get bored doing 3 on the treadmill.