NYC Marathon Training Highlights

13-miler

This is the first marathon training cycle since I’ve been blogging where I didn’t really blog and post updates of my weekly training. It was a busy fall and blogging was at the bottom of the priority list. So this will be a once over of the training cycle with some key workouts and breakthroughs that helped me run a PR at the NYC Marathon. (I try to post all of my runs and workouts on Instagram!)

But before I get into the training cycle, I feel it warrants a brief discussion on what I was doing over the summer. The 2-3 months after Boston were not fun (as I’ve discussed before). Each time I tried to build my mileage up or increase intensity again, I would almost immediately begin to feel drained and exhausted (which would last a week or two). I remember one run in particular – I had made it maybe 2 miles before stopping because I was out of breath and just not feeling right. I walked and ran the 1 mile back to my house and questioned if I would ever have the energy to run double digits again, let alone race a marathon. Sometime around mid-July, I started to feel like myself again and the mileage started creeping up.

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    Body and Weight Changes During and After a Training Cycle

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    **I don’t post here every day, but you can find me on Instagram sharing everything related to running!**

    I’m always hesitant to talk about body or weight-related topics because they are definitely touchy subjects! But I wanted to talk about some things that have been on my mind recently.

    I am almost two months removed from the Boston Marathon.

    My running during the peak of Boston training was around 65 mpw. These days, I’m anywhere from 20-40. No run has been longer than 11 miles. Very few have been beyond 10. (I’ll go into more details soon about how I’m feeling, what I’m doing / not doing, etc).

    I’m also not eating as “healthy” right now as I was several months ago. It means ice cream at night, muffins or donuts on the weekend with my little guys, frappacinos when I feel like it. I’m not eating until I’m nauseous but I’m allowing myself to eat all those things that I may have passed up during the peak part of my training.

    And I’m about 6-8 pounds heavier than I was three months ago. Now, I’m not saying I’m heavy or need to diet or anything like that. Not at all. But I am heavier. I can feel and see the weight gain. 6-8 pounds on my body is noticeable (to me). It’s about 5-7% of my total body weight.

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      Recovery + Weekend Fun

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      Hibachi with my sons and niece!

      This past week was wonderful. No running, sleeping in (well, until the boys wook up at 5:45/6am), drinking wine every night and eating whatever I had a hankering for (which seemed to be a lot of chocolate and french fries).

      I woke up incredibly sore on Tuesday – more sore than I ever remember being post-marathon. Tuesday and Wednesday were just painful – the stairs mocked me each time I was on them. But it was a happy kind of pain – I still don’t think the smile has left since last Monday!

      I didn’t do much moving at all on Tuesday (which was necessary!). Wednesday, the boys and I went to the zoo for a few hours. It felt good (yet still a bit painful) to walk around – but it was too gorgeous of a day to keep them inside!

      I got on the bike on Thursday and Friday and did 30 min of easy spinning (didn’t even break a sweat) just to get my legs moving. No core work. No strength work. No running.

      Saturday was my first run. 4 achy, not-so-great miles. No garmin but I think it was about 9-9:15 pace. My quads still felt a little sore – I felt fine walking and assumed the run would be okay – but it was clear I needed another day or so of recovery. (I took Sunday off and ran 5 miles yesterday which felt much better.)

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        Recovery + Speedwork + Honolulu Marathon

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        Early morning miles with Jacqueline!

        The Potomac River Run Marathon was just over three weeks ago and I just had my first real speedwork. I took a few days off from running (and any sort of physical activity) after the marathon but started back up with short, easy runs mid-week. Since then, I’ve gradually increased mileage while keeping virtually all running to a super easy pace (I didn’t wear a Garmin at all for the first two weeks of running).

        The mileage looked like this:
        – 1 week post-marathon: 4 days of running – 22 miles
        – 2 weeks post-marathon: 6 days of running – 47.5 miles (including 10 miles with 10 x 1:00 on, 1:00 off -> no set pace)
        – 3 weeks post-marathon: 6 days of running – 47 miles (including 8 miler with 4 mile progression -> no set pace)

        I think there are multiple ways to recover from a goal race. I used to be of the mindset that I HAD to take an entire week off from running after a marathon and a few days off after a half marathon. My coach is of a different mindset, and believes in more of an active recovery. It was a change for me to run the day after a half marathon – even when I was a bit sore. But a short 3-4 miler and then a string of easy runs can work just as good, if not better, than complete rest.

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          PRO Compression Giveaway!

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          Post-long run

          I find that the more miles I run, the better I need to be with recovery. My recovery regimen after workouts or long runs has really improved over the last year. I used to be awful about recovery – I would finish a run, shower and then go about my day. These days, I try to have some sort of recovery shake, stretch, sometimes take an ice bath (followed by shower) and then I put PRO Compression sleeves or marathon socks on for the next few hours.

          I am recovering faster and better which makes me able to have an enjoyable recovery run the next day and continue on with my training plan.

          But PRO Compression socks/sleeves aren’t just meant for recovery. I have been wearing them for most workouts and long runs as well. And I’ve been racing in them – I wore them for the the NJ Marathon in May. I feel like they give me the support my legs need during tough runs.

          “PRO Compression socks are designed specifically to deliver both maximum comfort and speedy recovery times. The science is complex, but benefits such as improved blood flow, stability and comfort are universally understood.  The moment you put these socks on your feet and incorporate them into your game, you will feel and understand the difference.”

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            Training Update + LA Marathon Race Review

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            I called last week my “ease back into training” week. I didn’t want to immediately jump back into tempo runs or 20 milers, so I focused on lower mileage, easier running, some core work and time on the trainer.

            Here’s how the week went – there was more treadmill running than I wanted but with my husband away for business all week, I was grateful to just get the miles in! The boys have been really great with staying occupied while I run on the treadmill so I was able to do the running while they were awake:

            Monday: 8 miles outside (8:07 pace) – strength and core at night

            Tuesday: 8 miles on treadmill (7:55 pace) – 5 easy, 3 progression (7:30, 7:17, 7:00) followed by 30 min on trainer

            Wednesday: 10 miles (7:38 pace) – which included the descending ladder workout I talked about last week.

            Thursday: Rest Day

            Friday: 10 miles (7:31 pace) with a descending interval workout. In 2007, I was a member of the FT Hood Army 10 miler team. We had weekly track practice (which I loved – which I had access to a track!) and our coach had us build up to 3 sets of 1600, 800 and 400 with a short active recovery + rest period. This ladder workout was the first real “workout” I ever did!! It’s a good mix of distances and you don’t feel absolutely exhausted by the end despite doing over 5 miles of speed work.

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              Marathon Recovery + Descending Ladder

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              Truth: I am not the best with marathon recovery. Maybe because it’s usually the end of a training cycle so the need to recover well to get back into training is low…meaning: recovery is not the most important thing. I tend to stay pretty sedentary, drink too little water and do zero stretching/rolling. This time was different. I have upcoming racing plans (lots to share about the rest of 2014 – won’t share right now since it kind of lends itself to a full post) so there was/is a need to recover and recover WELL. I am by no means saying that I am an expert in marathon recovery. But I think what I did have worked for me. I am 11 days post marathon and my legs feel fresh, my energy is high and my desire to train hard is stronger than it’s been in months. All good things. Especially given how beat up my quads felt after the marathon (which I think was from all the downhill running). Here’s what I did: Sunday (race day):

              • Vega Recovery: After a quick walk through of the Asics post-race tent, I got my checked bag, grabbed my Vega Recovery drink mix and downed it with 16 oz of water. I started using the recovery accelerator during my fall marathon training cycle and loved it and have continued to use it after almost every run. I feel like it works. From the Vega website:

              The first all-natural, plant-based recovery drink mix specifically developed to address all six key elements of post-workout recovery: muscle glycogen replenishment, muscle tissue repair and protein synthesis, hormonal support, soft-tissue repair, immune system support, inflammation reduction and rehydration.

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