2016 Boston Marathon Training (T-12, T-11)

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Well, after a solid week of training (T-12), last week was the training week that wasn’t. My whole family got hit with the Norovirus. It knocked us on our backs for days. And it wasn’t until Friday where I felt ready to run again.

My husband and I started having symptoms at almost the same time on Monday. He was working from home, I was at work in the city when we started texting each other. We both felt off from the early morning (I actually had dressed and intended to run. Ran to the end of my block and realized something wasn’t right, so came home), but attributed it to what we ate the day before. By lunch-time, my husband wasn’t keeping anything down.

By 4pm, I had gotten sick at work and was on my way home. I was hoping that I would be in the clear for a window of time. Unfortunately, that window only lasted about 45 minutes. I got sick on the packed bus, which will likely remain on my list of embarrassing life moments (thankful my coworker handed me a garbage bag as I was heading home). We spent the next 36 hours in bed, with the most intense stomach pains I’ve ever experienced.

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    2016 Boston Marathon Training (T-13)

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    Some weeks running and training are seamless and each run goes as planned. Other weeks it takes lots of moving of the puzzle pieces to get the runs in. And other weeks, those puzzle pieces may not fit so perfectly and something has to get tossed.

    This past week was the 2nd. I got all the runs in that I planned to, but it took a bi t of finagling and shifting of when and where the runs happened.

    6 days of running with a weekly mileage of 60 miles – highest since mid-September. The constant hunger has returned and so in case my mileage didn’t indicate the return to marathon training, the endless calories and meals are a good sign.

    There was a lot of treadmill running this week. Not ideal or how I hoped to spend my weekend, but as always, I’m just grateful for the opportunity to still run even when the roads are less than ideal – or the child-watching situation makes it impossible.

    As many of you, we got hit with a ton of snow Friday evening into Sunday morning. The last report I saw had Staten Island with the most in the tri-state area – at 31.7 inches. It was a lot. But life went back to normal on Monday – school for the boys and roads mostly open. Running outside is day-by-day right now depending on the temps. If it’s sub-freezing, then there’s too much ice on the shoulders for me to run. Here’s how the week broke down:

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      Boston Marathon (2016) Training (T-14)

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      Happy Tuesday! Another solid week of training is in the bank. It was a bit of a cutdown week, in regards to miles, but the intensity and effort was at or slightly higher than previous weeks.

      But most importantly, my sister had a baby boy this week!! I am an aunt to a beautiful, happy, healthy little boy!!

      5 total runs (1 planned rest day, 1 unplanned) for 49 miles. I’m two weeks in to long runs on Fridays – and so far, they are working. I’m still trying to figure out the logistics of longer long runs (for instance, this week I have 18-19 miles so I would need to start around 4am). Not sure about where I’m going to run the miles (maybe break up inside/outside), but I’ll have the details ironed out by the end of the week.

      This Friday’s run required a 3:40am wakeup – which was tough because it’s at the tail end of a long work week, BUT, knowing that once it’s done, I get the entire weekend to sleep in and relax with my boys in the AM makes me energized to suck it up and get it done. I tell myself that I can deal with being tired one more morning – and the reward makes it worth it.

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        Boston Marathon (2016) Training (T-15)

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        Running tends to mirror other aspects of my life. If I have a stressful week, running typically doesn’t go well. If I’m having a good week, running usually adds to the happiness. This past week was filled with so much family, happiness and love – and I feel like my running really showed that.

        6 total runs for 57 miles with one planned rest day. This was the first week where I made the decision at the start of the week to take a mid-week rest day – and man, did it feel GOOD. Sleeping in felt great but more importantly, I felt energized for Thursday and Friday’s morning runs, not exhausted or dreading them. So, for the time being, I’m sticking with a rest day (planned for Wednesday but staying flexible with the day).

        Here’s how the week broke down:

        Monday, Thursday, Saturday – easy miles in the bank
        6, 8, 6 miles – all easy paced/recovery runs. Monday’s run was garmin-free and the other two were with my garmin (I averaged 8:18 and 8:20 paces for those two).

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          Boston Marathon 2016 Training (T-16)

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          Now that I’m formally training for Boston, I figured it was time to bring back my weekly training updates. I like typing them out here. It helps keep me accountable and affords me the opportunity to look back on my training – highlighting the good and bad – as a cycle comes to an end and then again, after the race. I take note of what worked so that I can repeat it and what didn’t work so I make some changes.

          After about two months of “coaching” myself, I made the decision to return to Coach Mark Hadley. I had great success with his coaching the last 12 months. He helped me lower my marathon PR to 3:12 – and I know that I have a faster time in me – so I’m hopeful that with his guidance, I can get there.

          We are 15+ weeks out from Boston Monday – still a load of time. But I also know how fast these weeks can start to fly by. My focus for the next few weeks is to find what is sustainable. I am so appreciative of all the feedback I received from last week’s post. I read every comment and email – and had some really great suggestions and ideas. In the end, I’ve decided to try the Friday long run for the time being. That, coupled with an optional rest day on Wednesdays and I’m hopeful that the plan is feasible.

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            A Break From Training

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            Are you following me on Instagram? Make sure you are for some fun news and giveaways soon!

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            About two weeks ago I decided to take a break with training. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still running most morning and have every intention to train hard for Boston in the spring. But right now, I just need a mental and physical break from being tied to a training plan.

            I think it’s partially because I’m adjusting to a new normal for me and my family and I’m trying to find that happy balance where I don’t feel like I’m running myself ragged. I think it’s also partially because I am a bit worn out from a long, hard training cycle. I was pumped up after Wineglass and had plans to put my head down and continue working hard through Boston. But my body, heart and mind are not in it right now.

            The truth is, for a few weeks, I didn’t have much of a desire to run long on the weekends. Zero desire to run 8 miles every day. Zero desire to run in the freezing cold.

            And I was getting annoyed with myself and frustrated that I wasn’t running the mileage outlined in my training plan.

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              Wineglass Marathon Training – By the Numbers

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              One of the aspects of Coach Hadley’s training that I love is that there isn’t a day on the plan where we switch to marathon training – everything you do is training for your goal race (even recovery periods). I never technically stopped training after Boston – and the plan and training runs seamlessly transitioned from recovery to light speedwork to short intervals to long tempos. So it’s hard to say I trained for “x” number of weeks or months. After Boston, I took a few days off and then gradually picked up the miles over the course of the next couple of weeks but didn’t start speed or longer weekend runs until close to the end of May. I was pretty sore after Boston and needed a bit longer to get back into the swing of things. As the months progressed, workouts became more focused on the marathon distance – so longer long runs, longer tempos, steady state.

              When I look back on the training for Wineglass, a few things really pop out at me.

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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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                  Wineglass Marathon Training Update (T-3) + Returning to Work!

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                  LESS than 3 weeks until it’s time to lay it all out there – getting close!!! I feel like the last 4-6 weeks flew by – just like the end of the summer. School started for my little guys on Monday – Pre-K 4 and Pre-K 3!

                  I’m also happy to share that I got another job offer this week – and will be accepting! Everything about this job and position feels right to me and I’m over the moon ecstatic to return to work. Most days will be close to 13 hours out of the house (it’s in Midtown East so the commute will be 60+ min in AM and 90+ min in PM) and I know running will have to take a backseat. Not sure what I’m going to do yet in regards with training and racing – I think decisions will be made as we go along and I see how much running I’m able to fit in. But I feel ready to shift around priorities and cut back where I need to.

                  So, Wineglass is rapidly approaching. We are down to 19 days. 19!!!

                  Thankfully, I had a pretty solid week of training last week. I felt great, the paces felt comfortable and most importantly, I feel like my motivation and excitement for training has returned. After the last couple of weeks of lackluster running and then my discouraging run/race at RnR VB last weekend, I was beginning to freak out with how poorly I felt. I was worried that those feelings would cause a landslide into the final weeks of training.

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                    Wineglass Marathon Training (T-5) + RnR Virginia Beach!

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                    So, this was a tough week of training. Physically, I am feeling fine – the pain in my foot disappeared as quickly as it appeared and I have been running pain-free all week.

                    But mentally, it was a challenging week. I flew out to SF on Friday morning for one of my college gf’s weddings, so coach and I adjusted the plan so I would get my long run in on Thursday. Realistically, there was ZERO chance (or desire) of me running long while I was in SF – my focus was on spending as much time with my West Point girls as possible – and a 21 miler did not fit into the plan.

                    So we decided to shift the week and do the long run on Thursday. Unfortunately, I woke up Thursday and just didn’t have the motivation to run for almost 3 hours. I made it 5 miles and called it a day. The thought of another 16 miles – alone and mostly in the dark – sounded miserable to me.

                    So the plan changed to me running at 4am on Friday. I’ve never run that early before but I needed to be on my way to the airport by 8am. I was in bed by 9pm with my alarm set for 3:30am. But of course, things never run that smoothly when you have a short timeline. I woke up at 12:15 and was up for a bit before hearing my older son awake around 1am. I ended up in bed with him for a few hours until he finally drifted off to sleep just after 3am. It was one of those nights where you just stare at your clock as it gets later and later and as you constantly do the math to see how many hours of sleep you could still manage if you fell asleep at that moment.

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                      Wineglass Training Update – T-6: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

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                      Last week was another solid week of training for Wineglass. Through Saturday, I had run 61 miles over 6 days with intentions of 5 recovery miles on Sunday – which would have made it my highest mileage week this cycle (66). But I woke up Sunday and my left foot was hurting. The pain was on the top part of my foot – towards the middle to outside part. It didn’t hurt to the touch nor was it swollen. But there was this sharp pain that came and went throughout the day.

                      My plan was to just let it be for a couple of hours and then try my run, but the pain had not subsided by 11am, so it became an unplanned rest day and panic started to set in.

                      I don’t run through pain. On a day-to-day basis, nothing hurts when I run – nor before or after. So anytime there is even a small amount of pain or even something that just feels “off”, I don’t run. It’s just not worth it to me.

                      I woke up Monday and the pain was still there – not nearly as strong, but enough where I felt it was not smart to force an easy-paced run. Coach recommended that I start some contrast therapy – ice, warm water, ice – and so that’s what I did. Thankfully, there was no pain for the rest of the day nor Tuesday morning when I woke up to run – so I ran…pain free! Hoping (fingers crossed) that it was just a cranky tendon (as Coach called it).

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                        Wineglass Marathon Training (T-8, T-7)

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                        How is it possible that my fall marathon is just over SIX weeks away? That seems so close and between a trip to San Francisco for a good friend’s wedding, school starting, potential start of full-time work for me (more on that later), I know the next few weeks are going to fly by.

                        Two weeks since my last update. Lots of tough but successful runs that are getting me excited to lay it all out there in six weeks. Here are the highlights:

                        10 mile steady state miles – Getting comfortable at a moderate pace
                        First steady state run this cycle. Steady state pace is a tough one for me. It’s slower than tempo but faster than an easy run. You should feel a bit uncomfortable the whole run, but not pushing too hard. You want to get a good workout in but not feel wiped at the end. Goal pace was 7:30-7:40. I tried to stay there but found it was easier to keep pace just under 7:30 (I felt like I was actually fighting my body to keep it above 7:30), so I went with it.

                        The hardest part for me was jumping into that pace. I typically take a few miles to find my rhythm – my first mile is usually between 8:15-8:30 so to start at 7:30 was challenging – and the hardest mile for me. But, I finally settled in and found a good rhythm. 10 total miles – 7:26 pace. Splits: 7:29, 7:29, 7:26, 7:28, 7:26, 7:23, 7:29, 7:22, 7:26, 7:21.

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                          Wineglass Marathon Training Update (T-9)

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                          I started this post Sunday evening in the midst of one of those “can’t stop eating” days of marathon training. Last week was the longest long run and highest mileage week since Boston training…and it capped off the 2nd highest mileage month ever for me (have to go back to October 2014 for highest). So my insatiable appetite is understandable and expected.

                          On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being a completely successful week), I’d classify last week as a 9 – it would have been a perfect week of running had Wednesday’s tempo gone better. But, instead, I quit after 2 of the 4 tempo miles and turned the remainder of the miles into “easy”. I’d love to blame the heat and humidity, but I think it was just a result of a lot of things. And I refuse to complain about this weather because no matter how hot it is, it still beats the 0 degree weather we were dealing with in the winter.

                          My husband was away from Mon-Thurs evening – and I was able to run all of my training runs outside and solo (except one treadmill run). I’m lucky enough to have a supportive family who will come over to watch the boys so I don’t need to run with the stroller or on the treadmill. My running happened this week when I had the chance – couple of days were right smack in the middle of the 95 degree weather – but it beats being down the basement, right?

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                            Wineglass Training Update (T-10) + Slowing Down

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                            After months of falling off the early morning running wagon, I am happy to be back on! Last week was a pretty successful week of getting up when my alarm went off – most days around 5am (two days as early as 4:30am) – and finishing my runs before 7/8am.

                            My weekly mileage is slowly starting to rise again – I had back-to-back 60+ mile weeks and came out feeling rested and ready for more training. I think a HUGE part of that is how much easier I am taking easy runs these days.

                            I don’t know what it is, but it’s like a lightbulb finally went off in my head. And if there was a way to smack my younger self upside the head, I would. Looking back on the last several years of training, I know that I was running too fast on my easy days. I can remember coming back from an easy/recovery run and feeling wiped. Ummm…you shouldn’t be wiped after an easy run.

                            Lately, I’m focusing on heart rate or just perceived effort and I wear no watch most days (if I want the HR data, I wear it). I can tell you that it’s significantly slower than I have been running my easy runs. And I’m finishing up my easy runs feeling energized and ready for the day, rather than feeling like I want to crawl back in bed.

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                              Wineglass Marathon Training (T-12)

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                              I am getting into the swing of marathon training so I wanted to bring back the weekly updates in case you were interested in my training leading up to Wineglass!

                              But first, I want to rewind a moment. Before I tell you what I’m doing right now, it’s fair to give a brief overview of what has been going on the last few month. It’s been almost three months since Boston. I still feel like it was yesterday (and yes, STILL riding that PR and race high). Since the race, my focus has been on a few things:

                              • Recovery: This preoccupied most of the first four to five weeks post Boston. I ran four or five days post-Boston but kept all runs short and easy for a few weeks before starting any type of “faster” running. Some light core work but no strength work. My legs were pretty trashed from the hills so I decided to use only cycling and easy-paced running during the important recovery and regeneration phase.
                              • Consistency and base building: Last training cycle, I took a rest day the day after my long runs (some weeks I would cycle easy, but 75% of time, it was a complete rest day). This cycle, we’ve added in a short recovery-type run (3-5 miles) the day after my long runs – with the option of a rest day if I need it. Mileage has been averaging in the low 50s. That will naturally get bumped up a bit as training continues and long runs become longer – but shouldn’t be by that much.
                              • Strength, Core, Cross-Train: I was REALLY good about this for a couple of weeks, but I’ll be honest here – not much was done while we were in Alaska for 3 weeks. I had intentions of maintaining my core and strength routine, but the reality is that we were on vacation and I felt like running was enough time away from my boys and my in-laws. So I just accepted it and will be focusing on these over the next 12 weeks. Monday was my first strength and core workout and man, did I feel it!
                              • Maintaining mid-distance endurance: The longest I have run since Boston is 16 miles. Most of my “long” runs have been in the range of 12-15 miles. That is a sustainable distance for me. If I were to run 18+ milers on a consistent basis for more than a few months, I would probably risk injury and/or overtraining. Since we are 11 weeks out, the long runs will start to get longer (17 miler this weekend).
                              • More Tempo Long runs: Last cycle, I only did two long tempo runs. I’ve already done two (both 13 milers with 7 tempo) and likely will have another 1-2 before the race.

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                              Here’s what last week looked like:

                              Monday: 15.5 mile long run (talked about it here)
                              Tuesday: 4 recovery miles with my husband
                              Wednesday: Travel day
                              Thursday and Friday: 8 “easy” paced miles
                              Saturday: 13 miles with 7 uptempo (see below)
                              Sunday: 5 recovery miles

                              6 days of running (1 planned rest day due to travel/jet lag)
                              53.5 miles
                              2x stress workouts

                              There was nothing but hills while we were in Alaska but the upside was that the humidity was low! I was able to run 3 weeks during the summer without battling the Northeast heat and humidity while getting some awesome hill workouts in. Win-win.

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                                Fall Marathon Plans + Back Home!

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                                If there’s one thing I’ve learned about planning your racing calendar out, it’s that it’s not set in stone…not even your goal race.

                                Last fall, I had my eyes on the Wineglass Marathon in October, but after a few weeks during the late summer where I wasn’t feeling great and wasn’t up to long runs, I decided to forego Wineglass and chose the Potomac River Run Marathon in November – which gave me an extra 5-6 weeks of training.

                                Earlier this year, I signed up for Wineglass again. I wanted that to be my goal race this fall, but after Saucony reached out to me to be part of the 26 Strong program again, I decided, once again, to forego Wineglass and choose a later marathon. I had entry to NYC Marathon, so decided that would be my goal race with the Chicago Marathon with Ruth (as part of 26 strong) as a long training run.

                                But there’s been this nagging feeling in my stomach about the fall that I couldn’t shake. My worry is that running 26.2 miles in Chicago with Ruth could jeopardize NYC three weeks later. I’m not the type of runner who can run 26.2 miles and recover and then RACE 26.2 miles soon after. I’m concerned that there will be some fatigue from Chicago that is lingering by the time NYC rolls around.

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                                  Orange Mud HydraQuiver Vest Pack 1 Review!

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                                  After writing this post a few weeks ago, I was surprised at how many of you are/were in the same boat as me – struggling to find the right hydration source for these sweltering summer runs. We don’t want to hold a bottle, don’t want to have to stop every few miles to drink from a bottle either along course or by our home and hadn’t had luck with belts.

                                  Well, I tried a new hydration system this weekend – the Orange Mud.Vest Pack 1 – and am already hooked.

                                  First, let me say that I owe a HUGE thanks to Cheri for recommending it to me. I looked into every single recommendation that was mentioned in the comments – and actually got a couple that I will be testing out to see what works best for me.

                                  But rather than wait until I try them all out to do one massive review, I wanted to share my initial thoughts on the Orange Mud pack – I feel that after a 16 mile run in 80+ degree weather, you know one way or the other if the vest is going to work!

                                  The Orange Mud markets it’s products as “no bounce, ultralight hydration packs.” The idea behind the Orange Mud is that you use a bottle instead of a bladder and hose system. The bottle is kept behind you on your back – similar to a camelbak or other bladder backpack system. The bottle is easy to grab and replace thanks to a wide funnel opening and perfect retention.

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                                    Warm Weather Pace Adjustments -> Don’t Fight It

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                                    The summer heat and humidity has arrived in the northeast and running has been a hot, sticky mess lately.

                                    I always seem to start out overly confident of my ability to run through the humid weather each year and I try to fight it. And it usually takes only one long run to knock me upside the head and remind me of how much control the weather has over my pace.

                                    I did an easy paced 15 miler two weekends ago. It was my longest run post-Boston – and the heat and humidity chewed me up.  If I’m being honest, it was one of those runs where I knew that I should slow down – I could feel the stickiness in the air and knew that the pace I was running would not be sustainable. The pace felt easy and manageable early on, but I had that little voice in my head telling me to just slow down and take it a bit easier. But I held on to that little bit of hope that today, THIS day, would be different and that the voice in my head was wrong. It wasn’t.

                                    I didn’t start the run until 8am. It was already almost 80, humid and sunny. Not ideal but life comes first – we were up late with the boys at a neighbor’s bbq and I had no desire to get up before it was necessary. I also thought that I would be able to get the 15 miles in with no water. Not smart. As I talked about a couple of weeks ago in this post, this would be no issue during the winter, but I sweat too much during the summer for me to even make it past 12 miles without water.

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                                      Hydration Help + Stopping During Long Runs

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                                      First sunrise run in a while!

                                      I always blog a lot less when I’m in between training cycles. I guess I just feel like there isn’t much exciting training to share, so why bother sharing anything? But I also know it’s helpful to share all the details of training – not just when things are going great or I’m logging 20 mile runs.

                                      I’m still in the building stage from Boston. I’m up to about 45-50 miles/week and have been enjoying the fewer miles, shorter long runs and lazy mornings. But NYC is rapidly approaching and training will really start to pick up soon, so I’m trying to get back into routine of early morning running as well as core and strength work regularly.

                                      I had been planning to run the Memorial Day 4 miler for months. After a few days off for my hamstring pain, I was ready to give Monday a go. But, my coach and I made the call Saturday afternoon to scrap the race. I felt no hamstring pain – and hadn’t for several days / runs. But there were points where it felt tight – and my gut was telling me not to chance things on a race that wasn’t even a goal race.

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                                        Life Lately + Entering Taper

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                                        He’s in his bathing suit – it’s an Easter tradition in our family (since I was a little girl) that the Easter Bunny brings your first new bathing suit for the upcoming summer!

                                        Hope you and your loved ones had a wonderful Easter! We started off the day with baskets, an egg hunt and lots of candy and chocolate.

                                        Shortly after the festivities, I headed out for my last long run – 18 miles. I can’t say it was a great run. It was incredibly windy (weather app said ~20 mph winds) but it seemed to be gusting MUCH stronger for a lot of the run. And it never seemed to be at my back. It was just one of those runs where you just want it to be over. Lately, I’ve been feeling really bored and lonely for the longer runs and would love to have a friend to chat with and keep the miles easy and relaxed.

                                        The plan for yesterday’s run was 14 moderate pace and then 4 fast finish. Well, the fast finish didn’t happen. I guess technically it did happen because I pushed harder those last 4 miles, but I didn’t come even remotely close to the paces that my coach had scheduled for me. I’m chalking it up to the crappy wind.

                                        18 total miles – 7:52 pace. Ran blind for the first 14 and then spent 4 miles staring at my Garmin hoping the miles would tick by faster (and that my pace would drop). Neither happened.

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