MCM Training: Week 4/18

Huzzah! That’s 4/18 and I’m a month in.

Running Miles: 40

Cycling Miles: 17

Pretty good week. The weekend post long run was thrown off a bit as I did a self defense class at a boxing gym with a friend. While enjoyable, they really focused on fighting back and my body was so sore! Thus, the recovery on Sunday and since has been fun with sore muscles. But now onto last week’s workouts.

Hills: 6.26 miles

4 at pace miles – 8:02, 8:24, 8:10, 8:14

So totally not consistent at all. Yeahhhh, just could not settle myself into a pace and had to constantly keep checking my watch. Also had one of the super fast guys (1:12 half marathon kind of fast) who did his workout in the morning just getting a few extra miles with us afternoon people at a ‘slow’ pace. Way to make me feel like a turtle when my paced miles are like a recovery for him. But at least I wasn’t yelling at him as he ran past me (instead we were arguing the whole time). Silliness at its best.

Intervals: 6.09 miles

5x800m – 3:28, 3:28, 3:25, 3:29, 3:20

This time I was semi-consistent and semi-on pace for once. Sort of. No issues with the workout, though I threw my pace off on the 3rd one. It was fun running with one of the girls coming back from injury (again, fast person – her back from injury is my training pace). While I won’t say it was easy, I definitely felt solid on the workout. Though I’m sure I’ll be cursing myself once I get to more repeats.

Long Run: 12.01 @ 9:01 pace

Look at that, exactly on pace. I was almost worried it would end up being too fast. Sounds crazy but the 12 felt easy. I spent most of the run in a daze without really noticing the miles going by. It was practically a surprise to end up at the park (one of the route’s water stops) and be near 7 miles. I was so excited to sleep in until 5:30! Course, that won’t be happening again for a good few months. I didn’t really feel much strain in my muscles and made sure to have all my recovery stuff.

Still getting adjusted to the days I bike and/or run. While the cycling itself isn’t straining (unless it’s windy) it is a different type of exercise and I think tires me a little more than running. After that self defense class, I obviously need to work on more than just my cardio more often. Another good week of training! From here my mileage will just keep ramping up.

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MCM Training: Week 3/18

Another one bites the dust! 3/18 complete means I’m 1/6 of the way through. That sounded so much closer in my head…

Running Miles: 44

Cycling miles: 19

Hill Workout: 5.23 miles

3 miles at pace – 8:05, 8:18, 7:57

I’ve noticed on anything that requires repeats (hills and intervals) that my first mile at pace is always too fast. As you can see from the mile splits above (I’m supposed to be at 8:20). It felt (and likely was) extremely hot and humid this past Monday. I really needed to be better hydrated for this run. Added to that I was at the bike shop longer than I had planned, so I didn’t get a pre-workout snack like I was planning. So while I was able to complete the workout, I came out feeling pretty wrecked from it. Outside of being better prepared for the heat, the only workout related struggle was maintaining the correct pace.

Intervals: 5 miles

4×800 – 3:24, 3:32, 3:29, 3:19

And starting the first repeat too fast strikes again. In this case it’s my Garmin that threw me off. It was showing a pace of like 7:05-7:10, but repeat time was faster. On the second repeat, pace was at like 6:50-6:56 and yet was slower. So confusing. While the splits weren’t as close as I would have preferred, my legs felt fine and I settled into an effort level that I felt I could have done several more repeats. Hopefully I’ll be able to channel that again later in training.

Long run: 16.08 miles @ 9:17 pace

Little bit slower this week, but that was by choice rather than feel. Did the early 3 with one of the newer girls training for her first marathon (and so at a slightly slower pace). We made it back to start with the main group at 6AM and I latched onto one of the guys who usually runs a bit faster than me, but was going for 12. Figured I could run with him and then throw an extra mile on at the end. Pretty nice morning out, though we did end up being a little slower on the miles by about 5-10 seconds. I wouldn’t say it was easy, but I could have picked the pace up a bit for closer to 9:00/mile no problem. We got back to the start with me needing another mile, which I did at a 8:30 pace.

I was a bit surprised as I expected the long run to be a little more difficult just because until training I haven’t really broken 12 miles. Again the week felt pretty solid. Had to make some adjustments for things like taking part in a Run for a Cause on Thursday, but I just did my speed work in the morning. Also got in a little bit of cycling. The one thing I’m noticing over and over is the hydrating. Going to start carrying around a gallon of water or something to be better about it. On a side note, tried the sports beans instead of a gel on the LR and that was way better for me. Not nearly as heavy and the lack of syrupy-ness was nice.

So that’s week 3, now onward!

MCM Training: Week 2/18

And another week done! At this rate 18 doesn’t seem so far away.

Total Mileage: 55

Running Miles:  38

Cycling Miles: 17

Week two was essentially the same as week one. Only difference was in my long run, at least on the plan. Otherwise, I’m working on incorporating more cycling for cross training purposes. Also nearly every day I do a mix of exercises for my knees and strength/core exercises just for general upper body fitness. Trying to round myself out more for overall body health versus the running only that I did for my first marathon.

Now on to the workouts!

Hill Repeats: 5.8 miles

Got an extra long warm-up for this one as it had been raining all day. Actually, the entire workout was done in the rain (no lightning or thunder thankfully). As such we had to take a round about way to the start or risk getting stuck in mud. I had 3 one mile hill repeats at pace (8:20); managed to do them faster with 8:11, 8:02, 7:57. It was so the rain that made me that fast. Felt solid the whole time and enjoyed seeing so many out even with the not so great weather (16 people!).

Intervals: 5 miles

4×800 – 3:28, 3:26, 3:34, 3:20

So the third repeat was off, but not sure by how much. I was messing around with the Garmin and had I’m guessing 3-5 seconds on it with me just standing around. Felt good to get out early on the 4th and get this workout done (6:30AM start with some others so we could be done before celebrations and parties started). Had Beka from Rebecca Roams with me for the first 2 repeats and one of the guys got pulled along on all 4 (much faster than he planned haha).

Long Run: 14.48mi @ 8:59 pace

Whew, glad to get this done. While I’ve done 10-12 pretty regularly for the last few months, this is the first time after I was cleared to run (Sept. ’12) that I’ve done 14. Wasn’t quite sure how my legs would handle it. Felt pretty good for the bulk of the run. The early 4 were a bit fast as we wanted to be back in time for the main group start at 6AM, but didn’t strain me too much. Then the 10 mile loop was solid. I really only started to feel the tiredness and strain in the last mile or so, but even then it was pretty light.

During the long run, I tested out an energy gel that was okay but still a bit too syrupy/heavy for my comfort. It’s always good to figure out what fueling options work for you during lengthy exercise early in a training plan. Not just so you’re prepared on race day, but also so as not to struggle through the longer training runs. I have a couple different kinds of energy gels and non-gels (sports beans anyone?) that I’ll be testing out on my long runs over the next couple of weeks. Hopefully by the time I hit an 18-miler I’ll know what I like best.

I was a bit more tired around workouts likely due to adding in more cycling miles. However, I hope that by making it a regular habit to cycle 2-3 times a week I can get rid of that fatigue. And since it’s summer, need to be extra careful about drinking water. Noticed feeling a bit more dehydrated on a couple runs than I should have. Overall this week went just as well as the last. Even with the crazy heat and lots of rain.

Tips: Nutrition

Previously I touched on the importance of hydration, especially as we’re running full on into summer. Another equally important part of your routine to consider is nutrition.

While eating healthy is always good, that’s not necessarily what I’m talking about here. It’s more in relation to making sure what you eat is fueling the activity level you maintain.

Post workout isn’t just your recovery drink, but how you enable your body to continue through the day. Sometimes I am horrible at this, but I’m trying to get better. Worst thing, especially when you’re busy, is to not fuel yourself properly and end up crashing hard.

Try to always carry some kind of small snack with you and plan meals ahead of time. Spontaneous decisions are okay, but you’re more likely to make the effort to cook and eat if you already have everything planned out.

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I keep a protein bar in whatever bag I have (gym, purse, etc) at all times just in case I get the munchies. I make a habit each week (or several times a week) to buy some veggies to chop up and snack on. My favorites are cucumber, green pepper, and tomatoes. I also visit the local farmer’s market that keeps a nice stock of nuts and trail mix items. Generally I go for raw almonds and dark chocolate covered espresso beans (cause I’m weird).

20130502_162544While I do NOT substitute any of these items for meals, I do use them to for snacking. Fueling myself in the hours between meals. If I have a smaller meal because I eat snacks, that’s fine. I’m still getting all the stuff I need.

It’s important to keep a regular schedule of consuming nutrients for the singular fact that you want them to feed your exercise and daily life. I don’t run or function nearly as well when I’m skipping meals or not eating properly.

Eating well not only helps keep your body in the right shape to exercise, but helps combat exhaustion and illness. Sometimes you can’t avoid them for many reasons, but maintaining your nutrition is a good way to give your body and yourself the upper hand.

20130507_212212I emphasize this topic because I’ve unfortunately felt the effects of bad fueling and nutrition while training. For the first few weeks of marathon training in 2011 my energy levels plummeted because not only was I not increasing my calorie intake to keep up with my increased exercise, but I wasn’t making sure it was the right things I needed to be eating. Once my eating schedule smoothed out and I was filling my vitamin and nutritional gaps, I had a better ability to handle my schedule of exercise and life.

I definitely advocate making healthier choices (and there’s so many ways to do it!) in your food, but make sure what and how you eat is set to help you be your best.