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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    Boston Marathon Training – By the Numbers

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    I did this kind of post in the fall with Wineglass – and loved being able to recap and rehash the 3+ months I pushed for the marathon.

    This training cycle was a breakthrough for me – for a few different reasons. I will add that I consider the “cycle” to be from the start of the New Year until race day. I had been running fairly consistently through the New Year – but wasn’t following a training plan nor was I doing dedicated speedwork. It was more of the “I feel good today, let’s try this fun workout” or “I’ll go for 12-16 and see how I feel” for the long run. Most of my “long” runs were between 10-13 miles during the three months post-Wineglass with a few being a few miles higher (nothing over 16).

    First, it was truly the first time where I felt my race times matched my training (not Boston, but NYC Half). I had all but come to the conclusion that I am just a fast trainer. I like doing my long runs at a good pace and my tempos are fast (for me). For other runners, those paces may indicate a certain finish time in a race, but for me, they always seemed to be slower. For a long time, I was worried that I was pushing too hard in training. But then NYC Half happened and that was all the proof I needed to know that I had been training correctly (for me).

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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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        Last Long Tempo – The Run That Almost Wasn’t

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        Last week was a pretty off week. Crappy, actually. What should have been close to a 70 mile week ended with 50 which included one unplanned rest day, an extra “easy” day and a 4.5 mile day instead of 8 miles. Not the biggest deal but after a string of days where running didn’t feel good, the little doubt demons started to enter. I initially chalked it up to not enough sleep, but after waking up Saturday morning (after a decent night’s sleep) feeling worse than I had all week, I began to worry that maybe I was bordering on overtraining.

        My alarm went off at 4:30am with the plan to be out running by 5:15 or so. I knew this run was going to be tough and I just wanted to get up and get it over with. Plus, the forecast was calling for the winds and rain to pick up as the day went on. Not ideal for a long tempo.

        At 5am, I was pretty close to pulling the plug on the long tempo. My head hurt and I just didn’t feel “right”. All I wanted to do was lay on the couch under the covers. As a last resort, I decided to just down a ton of water and see if that helped. I knew I had drank much less water than usual this week but I assumed what I had consumed was enough.

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          2016 Boston Marathon Training (T-8, T-7, T-6)

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          Three week update coming at you today. Life, family and a lot of work got in the way of the last two week’s updates. Work has been nuts. But in a really good, challenging and rewarding way. I’m filling in a good number of the responsibilities of a coworker while she is away on vacation – so the days have been packed and long. By the time I get home at the end of the day, spend some time with my boys, have dinner and put them to sleep, I’m ready for bed. I don’t even open my laptop during the week!

          And the weekends have been filled with lots of family time. My entire family came over last Sunday for an informal dinner and then this past weekend we were in NJ both days – celebrating my mom’s birthday on Saturday at my sister’s home and then taking all the kids to see the Easter Bunny at the Menlo Mall on Sunday.

          I’m at the point in training where things are clicking, the mileage and intensity feel tough but sustainable (for the short term) and I am experiencing some big fitness gains. My reaction is always to put my head down and keep working. It makes sense, right? But my coach had other plans for me two weeks ago. We skipped a long run in lieu of some extra down time. I think it worked well. I feel energized and rested the last couple of weeks and was ready to run hard for the 1 mile race. Only 4 weeks of hard training left.

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            2016 Boston Marathon Training (T-9) + Break from Marathons + Benefit of Long Tempo

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            Last week was the second week in a row where I went 5-for-5 with early morning wakeups (before work). I feel like I’m in a good groove with the mom/work/running balance. I know it won’t always feel like this so I’m trying to make the most of it while things are working well.

            I’ve begun to look ahead and think about fall racing plans. I am leaning towards skipping a fall marathon this year. There are many reasons for this. Truth is, usually about 6-8 weeks out from a marathon, I start feeling like I will take a break, but the excitement and happiness from race day is usually enough to have me signing up for the next one. So I know part of my current thought process is affected by my current feelings towards long runs and the amount of time I’ve been dedicating to Boston.

            But one of the biggest reasons is that I (currently) do not want to dedicate Saturday mornings for long runs. Now that I’m working out of the home during the week, our weekends, especially during the warmer months, will be when we do things – go to beach, go on day-trips and so on. I don’t want my training to infringe on those plans.

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              Wineglass Marathon Training Update (T-2)

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              The hay is in the barn, the money has been deposited…less than two weeks to go! Just one long tempo workout and a mid-ish distance run on Saturday and then nothing but short, easy runs before race day!

              This was a big week of running for me. At this point in training, there are no short speed workouts on the plan. No more 600s, 800s, mile repeats, two mile tempos. Those were to build speed. For the last few weeks, the focus has been on longer workouts that will make marathon pace feel easier – long steady state, longer tempos and longer tempo intervals. See the similarity? They are all LONG. These workouts have been sprinkled throughout the cycle and have been gradually building in length – and three of them culminated this week – longest steady state (12 miles), longest LT tempo (5 miles – total 11 miles) and longest long-run tempo (16 miles w/ 8 @ tempo). I’ve seen these workouts on the plan for several weeks now – and I’ve been a bit intimidated. Each of them, alone, is tough enough. But to have all three over the course of six days made it even more so.

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                A Successful Tempo on Roads – Finally!

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                Head over to my friend, Lottie’s blog (Running On Veggies) to check out my Workout Wednesday Feature! I’m sharing what a typical day looks like for me – training, food, activities and so on!

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                So, I FINALLY nailed a LT tempo outside. After two failed tempo attempts the last couple of weeks (a 4 mile LT tempo and 8 mile AT tempo), I was both excited and nervous when I saw this little beast on the training schedule – it’s a short, but intense tempo.

                For those that have been reading here for a while, you may know that I have a much easier time with workouts on the treadmill – even with the treadmill at 1%. I don’t know what it is but I can run paces on the treadmill that I can only dream about outside. And so, I am always much more inclined to give in and use the treadmill on workout days.

                But the reality is that I don’t race on the treadmill. I race on the roads. And that is where I need to practice these paces. And to get the confidence that I CAN run these paces. So when I start to get tired or question my ability during a race, I can pull from these workouts.

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                  Boston Marathon Training (T-11)

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                  Photo via Twitter

                  Well, apparently we have another six weeks of winter to look forward to. Way to go, Punxsutawney Phil.

                  I remember saying a few weeks ago that I felt like winter had been fairly mild. Yes, we had some cold days. But we hadn’t had any snow or any days where it was just plain miserable to be out running. Well, all that changed rather quickly and last week was a another week of horrendous weather (that much of the country has been dealing with).

                  I managed to run outside three times – and was forced to the treadmill the other three (once because of the blizzard and twice because of ice on the ground).

                  Monday
                  Planned: 8-9 miles with 6×20 sec strides
                  Actual: 10 miles – no strides

                  I did this run as the snow was starting to fall Monday morning – I knew that at least two days would likely be on treadmill so I wanted to save my I’m going to lose my mind cards for later in the week when it was 100% necessary.

                  It was actually quite beautiful to be out while the snow was starting to fall but I opted out of the strides because the roads were pretty slushy by the time I was finishing up.

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                    Tempos vs Intervals

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                    Two quick things to share:

                    First, my good friend, Kristin (who is also running the LA Marathon – yay!) is running 37 miles on a treadmill on Friday for charity. She is also hosting a virtual race in conjunction with her run (you can win some awesome prizes!). You can read all about it (and how to donate!) here.

                    Second, Zulily picked their 10 Favorite Health and Fitness Bloggers and I’m thrilled that I made the list along with some of my friends: Christine, Kristin, Madeline and Katie!

                     

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                    I’ll be the first to admit that until a couple of years ago, I wasn’t completely sure of the difference between tempo and interval workouts. I knew that intervals should be faster than tempos, but I didn’t understand the purpose of either nor did I know what distance/time/pace I should be running them at.

                    Today, I have a better understanding of their importance as well as how to incorporate them into my training plan (I am constantly learning and improving on this and am NOT an expert by any means!).  I typically aim for two workouts each week during marathon training – often one tempo and interval.

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                      Unstructured Speedwork in Offseason

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                      Yesterday was my oldest son’s first Christmas party at school. Parents were invited to sit in for the last 30 minutes of the class while the kids sang Christmas songs and decorated cookies.

                      And then we spent most of the afternoon outside in the snow! I feel like it has already snowed more this year than recent years combined!

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                      Even though I wasn’t sore after Rehoboth, I took almost the whole week off from running and most physical activity. I was (and still am) embracing the off season. It’s been so wonderful to stay up late, watch TV, drink a glass or two of wine with my husband and just enjoy not doing much of anything.  And it’s gone hand in hand with lots of fun, family things that I’ve been able to go to (and stay out late) with zero guilt about missing a workout or getting enough sleep: My youngest sister got engaged and graduated from nursing school and my niece was Mary in her Christmas show. And on a whim last week, I went to the mall with my sister (at 8pm) and then we met up with our other sister for bar food and drinks at 10pm.

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