Sunday, August 28, 2011

Marathon 2 Training - 20 Miles

This was another great week of training, culminating in a great 20 mile run yesterday, and I even managed a little bit of cross training :)

Week Summary: ran 30.5 miles; walked 8 miles; 35 min yoga; 30 min core/kickbox
  • Mon - walked 2.75 miles; 19m yoga
  • Tue - walked 2.5 miles; ran 5 miles (hill repeats)
  • Wed - walked 2.5 miles; 10 min core; 20 min kickboxing
  • Thu - ran 5.5 miles - 3 sets of 1200/400
  • Fri - REST! Slept in :)
  • Sat - 20 miles! 16m yoga
  • Sun - REST! Slept in! 1h massage! :)
Cross Training

Still not doing as much as I should, but pleased that I worked in some core and strength exercises, and even a little kickboxing. I missed that!

20 Mile Run
20.02 miles in 4:27:34 @ 13:22 /mile. Splits:

It was ungodly hot and humid yesterday, so we kept the pace slow, ran the first 8 miles at 1:1, then finished with 12 miles at 2:1.  I certainly had sore legs and feet towards the end, but nothing that lingered. The knees and feet behaved themselves, I felt strong throughout the entire run, and I was able to speed up at the end as usual. Do not mistake this for thinking it was easy. The entire time I felt like I was running in a sauna and that my skin could not breath, but it was a good run and I finished in very good spirits.

Our pace was almost a minute slower than the 18 miler two weeks ago, but I'm not bothered by that one bit. It was the right pace for the circumstances, and if we're being frank I ran the 18 miler too fast. The long runs are about endurance, not speed; and with us building up to a 29 mile run, I must  run them slow enough to allow proper recovery and be able to benefit from the speed work during the week.  Jeff says there is no such thing as running the long ones too slow, and I am now a true believer. I was pretty much destroyed after that 18 miles 2 weeks ago, but yesterday I felt like I could have kept running if I had to. 

As soon as I got home, I stretched with some yoga, showered, and put on my compression gear. Even though I only had general soreness, I made used of the pockets and iced as a preventive measure. It worked wonders because I was not at all sore this morning, and I wouldn't have believed I ran 20 miles yesterday if I hadn't been there :) I got a massage this morning, which has become the usual after really long runs, but I really would have been fine without it so I was able to enjoy that much more. 

The only thing I need to further tweak is avoiding chafing. I applied body glide everywhere I could think of before I started, but it was no match for the absurd amount of sweat that covered my entire body. My inner thigh got badly chafed near the seams of my shorts, so I may need to bring some with me and reapply mid-run.

This Week

This week calls for an easy run on Tuesday, 400s on Thursday, and then I'll be running a 10K race on Saturday as a birthday present to myself :) I have not raced since April, so I'm really looking forward to it. My plan is to treat it as a tempo run, and hope that I can PR since I've been doing so much speed work. However, I won't be disappointed if I don't since it will be much hotter than when I ran my previous PR, there may be some hills, and my priority is optimizing my marathon training so I won't do anything to jeopardize it. Many from my group are also doing this race, so it should be lots of fun. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Importance of Rest

Exercise is addictive. You start craving the endorphins, and over time the same effort is not enough. It's a common misconception that to improve, we have to run longer and faster all the time. But I've found that the longer the race, the more rest days I need to recover properly and get the most benefit out of those runs. We often forget the most important aspect of training for a long distance race is rest. All training schedules include rest days, but we feel compelled to fill them with cross training or an extra "easy run." Cross training is important, but it should enhance your training schedule, not hinder it. If you are too tired or sore to do your scheduled runs, then that cross training is doing more harm than good. 

Last week I thought I was hurt, so I skipped a run and my running has been better than ever. I only missed ONE scheduled run, but it meant 4 days of rest for my legs. It was apparently just what my body needed, because I've been running stronger and faster since. I did end up making up the run somewhat on Sunday, but I didn't go running that day with that intention. I was just feeling good and wanted to run for fun, so I kept it short and easy. I didn't even bring my iPhone. I just ran and enjoyed it.

So remember that when you feel worn out, either physically or mentally, and your body is telling you (or screaming at you) to take it easy, you should listen because missing one run is not the end of the world. It's insignificant compared to the vast number of runs you do in the course of your training cycle and it will help you run that much better the next time. It's about prioritizing your goal. If your goal is to get fit and lose weight, doing more cross training may be fine. But if you have a target race and a goal you want to beat, then making those runs the best they can be is the priority. Everything else has to enhance that, not deter from it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Marathon 2 Training - Week 12

After a shaky start, this turned out to be a great week of training. It's amazing what a little extra rest can do for your confidence, speed, and resolve :)

Week Summary: ran 16 miles; 1h 41 minutes of yoga; walked 8 miles
  • Monday - REST - Stayed home from work to nurse and ice a sore foot.
  • Tuesday - REST - skipped run to let foot rest
  • Wednesday - walked 2.75 miles (bus) - foot felt better, and so did my spirits :)
  • Thursday - 5.5 glorious miles (3:1 @ 11:39 pace); 3 miles of walking (bus/Publix) - I'm back! =)
  • Friday - 28 minutes of yoga; walked 2.5 miles (bus)
  • Saturday - ran 8 miles (3:1 @ 11:28 pace); 23 minutes of yoga
  • Sunday - 15 min core/strength; 50m yoga; ran 2.25 miles (11:03 pace; no walk breaks)

The schedule called for 6 mile repeats on Saturday, which equals 8 miles with the warm up and cool down. I chose to play it safe, skip the mile repeats, and planned to run 8 easy miles instead. We ran with 3:1 intervals and despite starting slow, we sped up enough to average close to race pace for a 5 hr marathon for the 8 miles. Color me shocked! The best part is that it didn't feel like I was pushing that hard. As soon as I got home, I did some yoga with a little bit of core and upper body strength throw in, then did laundry and cleaned the bathroom. I think I was more sore from kneeling and bending over scrubbing the bath tub than the run lol


I slept in a bit, which for me means 7 ish. After a quick yoga warm up, I did 15 minutes of core and strength training with the Fitdeck iPhone app, then another 30 minutes of yoga. I was wide awake then and full of energy, so I went out for a quick recovery run. I left my phone at home (but not my stopwatch) and just ran for 25 minutes, to get at least 2 miles in. I mapped the route I ran when I got home and was surprised that my easy pace was 11 min/mi. I followed the run with another 12 minutes of yoga to stretch out my legs. Let's see if I can keep up the cross training (yoga/core) this week.

This coming week I tackle hill repeats, 1200/400 intervals, and 20 miles on Saturday; and I'm so ready!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Summer Running Gear

Last winter, I wrote a post about gear I used to get through running in the cold. I thought I had running in the heat down, but that was before I started training for a marathon and doing double digit runs in "feels like" 100+ temps. So here's some of the gear that I've been using to get through these runs. Most of these are not new, just getting more exposure now and have become essential instead of just "nice to have."

Amphipod RunLite Snapflask 4 Hydration Belt

I've had this hydration belt since 2009 when I trained for my first marathon. I typically only used it when I was running long alone or if we started a long run before support started, but now I wear it for every single run with at least 1 water bottle. Part of the reason is that I use it to carry my phone, so if I am going to wear it I might as well carry at least one bottle. But I've found that in this weather I want to carry my own water, even if we have water stops every 2-3 miles, so that I can sip water as needed and wash down nutrition instead of doing it on a given schedule. I also own the Amphipod Hydraform Handheld Lite 12oz and CamelBak Quick Grip Handheld Bottle, but I prefer the belt so I don't have to carry anything. Jason uses the Amphipod bottle for all his short runs, but I think it affects my form to carry it and hurts my shoulder, and now I'm used to running with the belt to at least hold my phone.

Amphipod Beltpod SmartView Pouch

I bought this add-on for my belt to carry my iPhone. After my Garmin watch broke, I started using my iPhone with the Runmeter App to track my runs. My running skirts have pockets that can hold the phone, but because of the heat I get so sweaty and my skirt gets drenched, so I wanted my phone to have more protection from moisture. It works great and I love the clear view screen to check on my progress during the run.

Electrolye Capsules

Jason bought these for his last half ironman triathlon. They offer cramp prevention with a full spectrum electrolyte balanced formula in a simple to take capsule. Since we already had them, I started taking them during my long runs and they seem to help. There are a ton of other options in the market, I am not claiming that these are the best. I am simply using these because is what we already had.

I cut my hair really short 2 months ago because of the heat, so I needed a hat to hold back my hair. However, it makes me even hotter so now that my hair is long enough to tame with a bondi bond and hair clips, I leave the hat at home. The hat is also useful for clipping a light when running in the dark before the sun starts beating down on us, but maybe is time to invest in a visor.

Wrist Sweatband & Towel
I love these to wipe sweat off my face/eyes. I wear a bondi band for all my runs, regardless of weather, but in the summer it is not enough because sweat materializes directly on my face. I've started carrying a quick drying microfiber hand towel to wipe off sweat. It's absolutely drenched halfway through a long run, but it helps keep me a tad cool.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Marathon Training: Mental Strength

Here's another one of those posts where I admit I am human and not just an energizer bunny-like exercise machine =P Hope this helps others realize you are not alone in your irrational behavior when training for a marathon ;)

After Saturday's 18 miler, the tendons on the front of my right leg, near the ankle joint, hurt every time I flexed my foot. After running for over 4 hours, it's not surprising to have sore feet, ankles, shins, you name it. But when it didn't go away by Monday, I started to worry. I stayed home from work so I could stay off my feet and iced it all day. Not wanting to risk making it worse and having to skip my 20 mile run on 8/27, I skipped Tuesday's run to let it rest. It finally felt better yesterday (cue huge sigh of relief) and I went for a run this morning. It was glorious! Being the super cautious runner that I am, I did not dare attempt the scheduled track workout. I went for an easy run with my group instead, and it was AMAZING! The weather was a little cooler, the run was pain free, and we ran faster than I expected, yet it felt effortless. I guess that's the benefits of 4 days of no running ;)

[A slight, but very relevant tangent before I conclude my story: becoming a group leader is one of the best decisions I've ever made. It brings a new level of joy to running, it helps me run more consistently, and I pay more attention to not doing something stupid since I want to set a good example. But best of all, my running group absolutely ROCKS! Most of them skipped the track workout to run with me this morning and we had an amazing time. /Tangent #1]

So that's the happy ending to this story, but it came at the tail end of 4 tense days. Because I'm training for a marathon, my imagination went into overdrive on Sunday. I had a tiny breakdown Monday night, and I snapped at Jason when he implied that I shouldn't even think about running on Tuesday. I may be driven and OCD enough to want to keep to a training schedule, but I am not stupid. Of course I wanted to run on Tuesday, but I knew better and had already decided I wasn't going to try. That was the reason I was so cranky because I knew I would miss the run. But it's fair of him to assume that I was considering it since marathon runners are insane and tend to ignore obvious signs to rest.

[Tangent #2: It goes without saying that Jason is the best boyfriend in the world to put up with my neurotic tendencies, which are tenfold during marathon training =P Even though I don't always want to hear it, he keeps me grounded and makes me realize how ridiculous I am being when I freak out after barely 2 days of dealing with this "injury" because I may miss my 20 mile run 2 weeks later, which of course will ruin my training schedule and my chances at racing this marathon. =P And you think Taper Madness is bad? ;)]

I must sound like a broken record explaining to my group why we run slower and with more walk breaks during long runs and in the heat, and cautioning them against risky behavior that may result in injury, but this is why. When training for a shorter race, a small setback doesn't phase me as much because I haven't put as much effort into training and given so much of myself. But training for a marathon is A LOT of hard work, specially now that I am training for a time goal. When I ask so much of my body, is easy to mistake something minor for something that could turn into a major injury. I do not want to do anything at all that will jeopardize me starting this race, let alone finishing it and meeting my goals. It would absolutely crush me to have put in all these miles and then have to skip the race.

I've said it before, but running a marathon doesn't scare me. I know I will finish this one, just like I knew I would finish the first one before I even ran 20 miles in training. But training for a marathon is very daunting and requires great mental toughness. There are a lot of early morning, lots of long runs in all kinds of conditions, and so many little things that can go run and mess with your confidence. I am not sure how often I will train for a marathon in the future, but every time I do I learn more and more about myself and just how tough I am.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Marathon 2 Training - 18 Miles

Today I ran 18 miles, and it was a great run despite the absurd heat and humidity. But before I go into the details of today's run, let's back up a bit and recap the last 3 weeks of training.

Week 9 = 15 miles - hills, 400s, and 7 mile LSD

Week 10 = 15 miles

This included 2 easy 5-mile runs during the week, and a rough 5 miler on the weekend. My plan was to run 7 miles, including 5 mile repeats, but (running fast in) the heat beat me and I was done after 4 miles (1 of which was the warm up). I tried to run 2 more easy, but I turned around after 1/2 mile and walked the last 1/3 mile back. I knew I did the smart thing by stopping when I didn't feel well instead of risking heat stroke, but I admit it broke my spirt a bit. I was apprehensive of going outside the rest of the weekend, but we can't appreaciate the good runs without a few bad ones in there.

Week 11 = 27.5 miles!
  • Tuesday - After the bad run on 8/6, I really needed a win and Tuesday delivered. After a 1 mile warm up (which was rather speedy too), I ran 4 miles at marathon race pace and felt great. 
  • Thursday - I had the not so brilliant idea of attempting a timed mile when it was absurdly hot. Needless to say, it did not go so well but it was still under 9 minutes so I was ok with that. Then I ran 4 x 800 but didn't push too hard because my legs were tired and I didn't want to destroy them before today's LSD. As it was, I was afraid I had done some damage because my legs felt sore for a few days.
  • Saturday (today) - 18 amazing miles
18 Miles!

And that brings us to today. I ran 18 miles at an average pace of 12:37 m/m (compared to 13:50 in 2009)! We started at 4 am and ran 5 miles with 1/1 intervals at an average pace of 13:30, then ran the last 13 miles with 2/1 intervals and increasingly faster pace. I didn't have perfect negative splits, but the average pace for the last 9 miles was a minute per mile faster than the first 9. I love that! Sure I was hurting a bit at the end, but I felt good and still had enough to finish strong. 

After I got home and took a shower, I tried on my new 110% compression capri, along with me Zensah calf sleeves. Wow! These things are amazing! They immediately made my legs feel less achy, and I was able to easily ice everywhere without having to sit ackwardly or rig up a way to get the ice to stay in place. My right foot and shin have been a little tender, but I've been icing and wearing my sleeves most of the day just in case. Tomorrow I'm getting a message and hopefully that will resolve any other issues. 

We have a tempo run scheduled for Tuesday, but I'll listen to my body and switch it for an easy run if I'm not fully recovered from today. Next Saturday we're again scheduled for miles repeats, but with 20 miles on the schedule for the following week, I may substitute that for an easy 8 mile run instead. I'm going to play it by ear and see how the week goes.

Cross Training 

I'm still slacking on everything else, although I at least did a bit of yoga and walking this week. I know I really need to get back to doing core work because I can certainly feel it after that 18 miler today. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

July 2011 Recap

Still slacking on the cycling and cross training, but my running is picking up nicely. My body certainly feels a bit worn out, specially after running around Sea World and Downtown Disney with a toddler all weekend. I didn't do much of anything other than run last week, and this week is shaping out to be much of the same, but I'll try to get back into yoga and core soon.

Week 9 of marathon 2 training was uneventful with a total of 15 miles, including hill repeats, 400s, and a 7 mile long run. This week we tackle mile repeats again, and next week is 18 miles! I'll probably wait until after the major long runs to do updates because they will get boring and repetitive real soon. So far now, here are my stats for July.

Activity July Goal Progress

(should be 58%)
run 84  410 / 700 (59%)
longest run 16 n/a
# of runs 13 13 / 13 (100%)
walk 18 216 / 400 (54%)
run + walk total 102 626 / 1100 (57%);
89/mo; 22/wk; 3/day
bike 16 748 / 2000 (37%);
107/mo; 27wk; 4/day
total 119 miles;
29 hours 
1374 / 3100 miles (44%);
241 / 365 hrs (66%)

I have an 18 mile and a 20 mile run in August, so I should be able to log 90+ miles over 13 runs. I really need to focus on trying to get at least 2 core workouts and 1 yoga session (minimum!) per week.
Related Posts with Thumbnails