NYC Marathon Training Highlights

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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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    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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      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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        Warming up during a run + NYC Half on Sunday

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        Hello, hello!

        Happy St. Paddy’s Day!! Our house had a little visitor last night!

        This week has been a tough one. I find it odd since the previous two weeks were much more demanding at work and I was running higher mileage. This has been a bit of a taper (because of NYC Half on Sunday) and work has been more normal hours, but I’ve felt tired and just not thrilled with waking up early to run.

        I’ve learned that Sunday evening into Monday sets the condition for the rest of the week. When I start the week off on not enough sleep, the rest of the week is tough because there’s no chance of making up the sleep until the following weekend. It’s like starting a marathon without being fully charged and rested.

        The result was sleeping in on Tuesday (I reset the alarm to give me an two extra hours) and putting off a workout until Tuesday evening – which turned into a mostly easy run because I was just feeling too tired and “blah” after a day at work.

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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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            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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              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 (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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                    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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                      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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                          The Treadmill Incline Debate

                          The winter months usually go hand in hand with the treadmill incline debate. A lot of runners training for spring races are forced to their treadmills because of snow, ice or freezing temperatures – and understandably, begin questioning the ability of the treadmill to train them properly for their goal race.

                          There are so many schools of thought on the treadmill incline. I know plenty of successful, strong runners who use either 0%, .5% or 1% (or more) when they are on the treadmill. But which is correct and what works best?

                          Short answer – I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer. I think you need to find what works for you and what you are comfortable with.

                          Each has perfectly reasonable arguments – both for and against. And I have tried all three – when I first started running, I never used the incline. A couple of years ago, I started using .5% incline for all of my runs and then after Potomac in November, I bumped it up to 1%.

                          I’ve been getting asked a lot lately about the incline I use for treadmill running (especially for my workouts) so wanted to share both my reasoning for using the incline as well as how I use it. But this isn’t a black and white argument. There are articles that are in agreement with my methods – and just as many that argue against it (see end of post).

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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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                              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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                                Birthday #33 + Finding My Rhythm

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                                Last week was a solid week of training. I feel like I have found my rhythm – I’m working hard during the workouts, running easy on the easy runs and feel recovered and energized through it all.

                                I ran a total of 73 miles, did core work 4x, strength work 3x, cross trained 2x (30 min each on trainer) – and did most of it while single parenting for the week. My husband has been traveling a lot for work lately and I was worried about how I would fit in all of these miles either with the stroller or on the treadmill.

                                I’ve learned that there will be always be an excuse if you let yourself have one. If you really want something, you will always find a way.

                                I also know that there are plenty of people busier than me – either at home with their kids, working full time or managing full time work and being a parent. Anytime I start to make an excuse, I think of these people and how they make their training work…and suddenly my busy week seems a bit easier.

                                73 miles, 7 runs, 3 workouts. Highlights are below:

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                                  71 Miles + 6 Weeks To Go!

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                                  It feels like I’m getting into a good rhythm with training. I ran 71 purposeful miles last week including a 5 mile tempo, mid-week long run (12 miles) and a 21 miler – all sandwiched between easy/recovery runs. I’ve hit 70+ miles in a week numerous times before, but I don’t remember feeling recovered and ready for another high mileage week; too often, I do too much in one week only to need an extra recovery day or two the following week.

                                  The Potomac River Run Marathon is just six weeks away – I’m kind of amazed at how fast it has crept up. I think it’s a good thing that I recently put it on the calendar (last 4 weeks) – it hasn’t been this looming race for months and months. And knowing that I have just a handful of long runs left makes them feel exciting and manageable.

                                  So here’s how the week broke down: 7 runs with 3 workouts for a total of 71 miles. The highlights are below:

                                  Monday
                                  Planned:11-12 miles with 8×30 sec surges
                                  Actual: 12 miles with 8×30 sec surges at 7:49 pace.
                                  I started off this run entirely too fast – as I was making the right at the end of my block, I peaked to the left to check for cars and saw the most magnificent pink and red sky.

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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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                                      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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                                        The Winter Funk + LA Marathon

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                                        My family (minus my godson who was sleeping!)

                                        I hope you had a wonderful Christmas/holiday weekend with your family and loved ones. We had a fantastic celebration at our home on Christmas Eve with my sisters, their families and my parents.

                                        The week leading up to Christmas was pure chaos. Between last minute Christmas shopping, taking the boys to see Santa (AJ was a little weary then warmed up but Ryan was not happy), cleaning the house, food shopping and cooking, I felt like it would never all get done. But it did.

                                        We also got our new dining room furniture last week. I’ve known what I have wanted to do in our dining room since we moved in over 18 months ago but financially had to wait until now to purchase it all. I could not be happier!

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                                        I haven’t blogged much the last few weeks – partially because I’ve been so busy but mostly because there hasn’t been a ton of good running. I’ve run here and there, done some speedy (for me) runs and gotten a few double digit runs in – but, by and large, running hasn’t been great. Truth is, I’ve been in a running funk. I’ve had very little motivation to get up early (so I haven’t) and it’s been impossible to get on the treadmill during the day (little guy is barely napping at the moment) so there’s been a lot of days off.

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