First Speedwork in 7 Weeks + Some Exciting News!

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Happy Friday!! I am pumped to be working from home today. We had a big release yesterday evening and unfortunately, I had to do some testing from 11pm-2am. But I was able to sleep in a bit and not worry about commuting into the city!

I have a few exciting updates to share:

First, I am taking over Women’s Running Instagram account on Monday. Memorial Day means a lot to my husband and I – we’ve lost a lot of friends due to the war on terror and so Monday is always a tough day for us. I’m racing a 4 miler with “racing” being a loose term since I’m just getting my legs back after weeks of little to no running and zero speed. BUT, I’m going to give it my best shot – and at the very least, it will give me a starting point for the rest of the summer.

Anyway, make sure you follow Women’s Running (and me while you are at it!) on Instagram so you can follow along on Memorial Day.

PS. I mentioned this last year, but wanted to share again: If you are planning on running this weekend, consider participating in the Wear Blue: Run to Remember.

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    Get Speedy with These Four Interval Workouts

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    This post first appeared on Women’s Running (It can be found here). 

    One of the best ways to become faster, stronger or to increase endurance is by incorporating some speed work into your weekly routine. But it can be extremely overwhelming if you’re not familiar with the terminology or have never tried any types of speed work before.

    But it doesn’t have to be as complicated as it may seem. One of the best ways to introduce faster running into your routine (without it being so structured) is through intervals.

    Intervals consist of repeated short segments of fast running separated by slow jogging or complete rest. The intervals allow you to run much faster than you usually do, adapting your body to higher demands and your leg muscles to faster turnover. Over time, you become more physiologically efficient. Intervals increase your overall speed.

    Related: 6 Ways To Build Endurance and Increase Mileage

    While there are structured workouts (for example: 400m or mile repeat repeats), you can do intervals in a more informal way. And you don’t even need a watch for some of these!

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      Boston Marathon Training (T-9)

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      I feel like my motivation to run in the cold is dwindling. I think it’s easier to suck it up and run in sub-0 temps when you know it’s just one or two days. But, for the last week, it’s been mostly sub-0 in the AM – and the 7 day forecast doesn’t look any better.

      Too funny not to share…and kind of what I have been feeling!

      Last week included a bunch of treadmill runs. Monday’s mid-week long run, Wednesday’s tempo, Saturday’s long tempo, Sunday’s recovery – all happened on the treadmill. Wednesday and Saturday I opted for the treadmill because the real-feel was single digits and my coach and I both felt that it was okay this week to use the treadmill to get the workout in (I would have had to adjust my paces significantly if I did them outside to account for the cold temps). Tuesday and Thursday were early morning runs outside (small victories).

      Monday
      Planned: 10-11 miles with 6-8x :20 strides

      Actual: 11 miles with 8x :20 strides

      I followed the same plan as last week’s run and incorporated a lot of 1:00 spurts of climbing. This week was 20x 1:00 at 4.5% incline. The remaining time was at 0% to give my achilles a break. Changing up the incline and / or pace are the only way I can get through a treadmill run these days. Although this run was almost 90 minutes, it went by surprisingly fast since I was playing with the incline every 1-3 minutes!

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        Boston Marathon Training (T-10)

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        Another successful week of Boston training is behind me…just 10 short weeks until Marathon Monday.

        Last week was my first 60+ mile week in over three months! The last time I was at/over 60 miles was October 20-26! After that week began a small taper for NYC Marathon, recovery from Marathon (~1 week), taper for Potomac River Run Marathon, recovery from marathon (2-3 weeks), taper for Honolulu, flu and tooth problems. I also hit 18 miles for the long run – longest long run in training since October 25.

        I’m definitely at the point in the training cycle where I feel like there is some good momentum behind me. I’ve had some kick-a$$ speed workouts and long runs have been (knock on wood) enjoyable and strong.

        As I mentioned in the post last week about mile repeats, my husband was away for work from Sunday through Thursday night. My parents are usually around and willing to watch the boys so I can sneak a run in outside – but my dad is visiting his mom down in Florida and my mom has had her hands full with my great-aunt who needed surgery. So understandably, I was on my own for running for the week.

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          Want To Run Faster? Start Here.

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          This post was originally posted on Women’s Running. It can be found here.

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          There are a ton of resources available if you are looking to get faster – websites, books, even other runners. But before you can start incorporating some of the workouts into your training, the first thing you probably want to do is become familiar with the lingo- which can be a bit overwhelming if you are newer to the sport. I didn’t understand what a lot of the terminology was until I had already been running for years, but once I did, I was much more open to adding speed workouts into my training.

          Below are some of the most common types of speedwork. There are literally endless variations for each (and you can even get crazy and combine a few of them!) – but these will give you a good foundation from which you can build upon.

          Fartlek: Fartlek means “speed play” in Swedish and involves short periods of fast running followed by short periods of slower running. There’s often no set distance or pace. You can even do it without a watch or Garmin. Fartleks are a great way to get your feet wet with speedwork since it’s a fun, creative, and less structured form of interval workout. Some examples of fartleks (More can be found here):

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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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              Two Weeks Off From Running + Scotland 10k this weekend

              First ride in the wagon!

              I loved reading all your comments on yesterday’s post – glad to know that my husband and I are not the only ones who struggle with both fitting in working out daily.

              Ever have a day where everything seems to go your way?  Yesterday was one of those days for me.  Started with an amazing ~20 miles of the Lake Placid Ironman Course  on the trainer.

              This DVD is amazing.  I am so thankful that Amanda recommended it to me.  My plan is to use parts of the DVD for at least one bike ride a week so that I can become intimately familiar with the course.  The bike course at LP is 2 56-mile loops.  This DVD takes you through one complete loop with Coach Troy with pointers and tips for the course along the way.

              Both boys slept later than usual (6am for the oldest and 8am for the youngest) AND had joint naps (for a little bit) which allowed me to shower, work on training plans, respond to some emails, do  laundry, and clean the house.

              Then I had a few deliveries.  First Fedex dropped two huge boxes off containing this:

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                Strengthening Your Mind

                Baptism

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                Last Day to Enter the PRO Compression Giveaway here!

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                This past weekend was my son’s Baptism. It was a perfect day –  wonderful ceremony, good food, and our family and neighbors to share the day with us.  I’m extremely sentimental and wanted my boys to wear the same christening outfit – just like my sisters and I did when we were all baptized. We had a small party at our home afterwards catered from a yummy place on Staten Island.

                All dressed up for a change!

                I love little boy clothes:

                My mom and sisters:

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                This is one of my favorite mantras to say to myself during a tough run:

                I have many moments of doubt and even more moments of wanting to just quit when I’m doing during tempo and speed workouts.

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                  PRO Compression Socks Review

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                  Monday’s Workout:
                  6 easy miles at 7:33 pace.  A bit faster than I was anticipating, especially coming off Sunday’s 10k steady state run, but my legs felt fresh and loose so I just went with it. The run actually turned into a perfect progression run – with miles 3-5 at/just under 7:15 pace.  They felt totally comfortable and in control.  Makes me very excited for my upcoming half next Sunday. It was also the longest run (up to that point) in my Saucony Virratas!

                  Tuesday’s Workout:
                  Speed day.  5 x 1 mile repeats + warmup/cooldown.  I decided to try something different this week.  After some recent conversations on twitter about the benefit of eliminating the rest in between each mile repeat and only utilizing an active recovery, I wanted to give it a try.  I still like doing a 1/4 mile active recovery (usually I do the active recovery + 30-60 sec of rest to stretch/drink water) so my active recovery was about 2:15.  My goal is to get that down closer to the golden 2-minute recovery that I’ve been hearing / reading about.  To ensure I was able to get through all 5, I made a conscious effort to start a bit slower than I have been running my repeats.  Less recovery = slower repeat times.

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                    Slowing Down the Treadmill

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                    Do you ever feel like you are on a treadmill and it just seems to be getting faster and faster…and that you will fall off if you hesitate for even a second?

                    This is how I have felt the last few weeks.  Overwhelmed. Like I was holding down the fast forward button and couldn’t pick up my hand.  Like I didn’t have control.

                    Don’t get me wrong.  Certain aspects have been positive.  I’ve nailed all of my tough runs and I’ve been blogging much more frequently (pretty much every day lately).

                    But other aspects of my life seem to be running away from me.

                    For the last month I have been a zombie.  I’ve been staying up entirely too late for the time I’ve been getting up…My to-do list is only getting longer and with later bedtimes for the boys (some nights around 830), I don’t start doing things until close to 9.  An 11pm bedtime with a 5am wakeup is not easy.  And on top of that, the sleep I have been getting is completely broken.  My youngest is going through a sleep regression so gone are the 10-12 hr nights.  We have been dealing with 2-4 wakeups a night.  He goes back to sleep easily but the wakeups mean I’m not getting more than 2-3 hours at a time.  I’m not complaining. I have a 5 month old so I don’t expect to get 12 hours of sleep a night.  But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.  The lack of sleep finally caught up to me last week and I totally skipped my run Thursday and my swim Friday. I just could not pull myself out of bed.

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                      Future Prom Date + 10 Mile PR

                      Good Morning!!  I already feel like this week is dragging and it’s only Tuesday :/

                      We had SUCH a fun day yesterday!  My girlfriend, Nicole, and her daugther drove from LI to spend a few hours with us (it was her first time on SI!).  Nicole and I met last year through twitter / blogging and were so excited when we found out our due dates were only 4 weeks apart.  It was a blast to go through pregnancy and now motherhood side-by-side with her. =)  We’ve been planning a playdate for weeks months and FINALLY put a date on the calendar! It was so much fun to meet her beautiful daughter, Olivia after seeing pictures of her from the first day she’s been born!

                      Our little ones are only one month apart in age – Liv is almost 4 months and Ryan is almost 5 months!  I think they make a pretty cute couple…what do you think? BTW – this picture was totally spontaneous – we didn’t pose them or their hands!

                      Nicole brought THE most delicious cookies I have ever tasted.  Seriously…Ever.  They were GF Chocolate Chip Cookies w/ Garbonzo Bean Flour (the recipe for this tasty morsels can be found here). I don’t even want to tell you how many cookies I ate yesterday afternoon / evening – I totally blame it on yesterday being my first swim workout for IMLP training (more on that in tomorrow’s post!).

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                        Intervals

                        Please keep my beautiful friend, Sarah, and her family in your prayers.  Her adorable 4 month old son, Jack, is undergoing surgery today.  You can read about her son and what he’s going through here.

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                        If you look at my marathon training plan, it’s a mix between being extremely detailed and very vague.  The long runs, types of workouts each week, and target weekly mileage is pretty black and white.  I know what I want to get done each week and I try hard not to deviate from that.  I run six days a week with three of those being quality days – long, 2x speed (either intervals, tempo, SS, LT) – and the other three being easy/recovery days. The workouts for the speed days are left blank.

                        I don’t believe that I have to do the same speed workout every single week.  It’s boring.  I like the variety of changing it up every week (or every few weeks). Intervals and tempo one week.  Intervals and steady state another week.  I typically decide what my plan is for the week after my long run (based on how I’m feeling) but have changed my mind the night before or even the morning of the workout.  However, I often do one interval workout a week.

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                          It’s Racing Time

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                          This Saturday is my first race (where I’ll actually be racing for time) since I found out I was pregnant a year ago. I’m getting anxious, nervous, excited to race again.  I’m running the Hot Chocolate 10k in Prospect Park.  If I run a sub-42, I can apply for the Saucony Hurricane Team.  I haven’t raced a 10k in years – the last one was in 2008 when I was deployed to Iraq.  I’ve never trained for a 10k.  So I’m not totally familiar with how I should be running this week, tapering (if, at all), and resting.

                          Love this quote:

                          I reached out to my friend, Mike, late last week to get his opinion on what type of run I should do this past Saturday.  My marathon training plan called for 16 miles.  I wasn’t sure if that would be too much on me before this weekend’s race and whether I should switch the workout to a longer tempo or progression run instead.  Mike recommended that I stick to the training plan and then focus on shorter distances during my speed workout this week.

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                            Speed Work Post-Baby

                            Embrace the Pain

                            Confession: the last time I did speedwork outside was years ago (like 3 or 4).  When I was in Iraq, it was impossible for me to find an area on the base where I could run without worrying about hummvees, tanks, or even indirect fire, so I began to do my speedwork on the treadmill.  I guess when you are left with no choice, you learn to love the only option you have.  I have stuck with the treadmill for the past few years.

                            After Saturday’s 6 mile progression run, I realized I needed to suck it up and start doing the speedwork outside.  While the treadmill can give me a great workout, I find that I push myself much harder when I am outside.

                            There isn’t a local track that I can go to so I will be doing my repeats on an area close to my home that has just under a mile of flat pavement (the last .1 or so is a bit of an uphill).  It’s definitely not ideal – I have to keep an eye out for traffic since I’m going through a bunch of intersections, but it could definitely be worse.  Trying to be optimistic – HA =)

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