MCM Training: Week 14/18

I can’t start a report without saying 14/18 down! So there’s no confusion on the specific workouts, for this particular week Monday-Wednesday was pretty much downpour of rain the entire time.

Total Miles: 56

Modified Hills: 6.63 miles

8:55, 8:39, 8:33, 8:02, 8:13

Yeahh, was not on for this workout to begin with and then the rain just made it worse. Normally I love running in the rain, but this workout just did not happen. Got started, had to ease into the pace, and finally just decided to cut it short.

Modified Tempo: 6.54 miles

8:12, 8:21, 8:04, 8:00, 7:52

Changed my Tuesday recovery into a tempo to semi-make up for cutting hills short. Felt much better, except for the fact that it was still raining. But in this case it just kept the run relatively cool, though I did nearly face plant into the wall trying to run to the shower without leaving puddles of water all over the house. Not as long a workout as I was planning, but obligations kept it from going farther.

Intervals: 8.63 miles

9x800m – 3:27, 3:28, 3:24, 3:25, 3:20, 3:27, 3:20, 3:24, 3:22

By Thursday I was struggling a bit from being tired – made up the miles I’d been missing so far in the week on Wednesday with a double run. So I crashed and slept in Thursday to meet up with with someone around 7AM instead of 5AM. Glad to have gotten the sleep, but wasn’t sure I’d be able to do as good pacing without Kathy running in front of me. Not nearly as consistent as with her, but still managed pretty well I think. It was hotter and the sun had come up, so not as good conditions as 5AM, but not bad. After getting all that sleep (like 9 hours), it was like a reset and the second half of the week went much better.

Long Run: 18.19 miles @ 9:10 pace

Recharged after Friday off, decided to just breeze my way through this one. Joined a couple people for a slower early 8 – we averaged around 9:40 or so. Then hopped on with two of the guys for around 9:00 pace for the next 10. Think the easier early 8 helped to ease into the run and kept the miles relaxed. Even the next 10 that were all sub-9 felt good. While I just wanted the miles, quite pleased that the pace was dropped as much as it did.

Almost to taper! Others starting to race has me super excited for race day to get here. While this week wasn’t ideal with the rain throwing everything off and just having an exhausted time getting through the workouts (plus some other stuff), it ended well and I still met my mileage goals. I’ve broken in both pairs of new shoes and retired the old ones (they needed it). Pretty sure I know which pair I’ll wear for the race, but Saturday’s 23 will be the true test. Less than 4 weeks to race day!


MCM Training: Week 11/18

A bit slow getting this recap out, but here it is. Yay, double digit week! Oh wait, that started last week. Fail. Moving on – highest mileage week EVER!!

Running Miles: 59

Hills: 9.26 miles

7x1mi – 8:08, 8:09, 8:06, 8:13, 8:14, 8:05, 7:37

Yeah, soooo, about that whole staying on pace thing. I was sort of consistent! Ran the first one with one of the girls and the last with one of the guys. Or it may be better to say they were nice and ran with me. I’ve realized that whatever pace I manage on the first repeat, that tends to be where my body settles for the rest of the workout. Maintained pretty well, though the heat and humidity was a bit killer. Stopped after 3 and 5 for water. Otherwise steady going. I realized I need to bring more water with me. Which also probably means I needed to hydrate a bit better too. Hmmm.

Intervals: 7.62 miles

8×800 – 3:32, 3:29, 3:31, 3:30, 3:34, 3:30, 3:32, 3:22

Decided to do these early AM with a couple of the girls. Actually felt kind of cool, though I imagine it was just because the temp was a couple degrees down from the usual afternoon. Except for the slowest one, I just kind of spaced myself back from one of the faster girls. At the end, I felt like I could have done the whole group a bit faster (and by faster, I mean just a couple seconds). Otherwise, that :22 wouldn’t have happened.

Long Run: 22.01 miles @ 8:56 pace

Group of 3 of us did the whole 22 together – though we had people join us for anywhere from 6-14 miles. Felt good, though the middle miles I slowed down behind the other 2 (by about 20 seconds per mile). A few of them were closer to 9:15, but that was probably good as otherwise the pace would have been lower. No issues and I made sure to have gels and e-caps. Last couple miles went well pace wise, but I could feel the tiredness. Only 4.2 more miles and I would have finished a marathon in sub-4! This run went way better than my marathon did, so it was definitely a confidence booster for me.

While the earlier parts of the week I was extra tired (I blame hills), I seemed to settle into the flow of the workouts. Calves have seemed to be the biggest issue areas, though I admit to icing my knees just a bit after the 22 miler. A bit of ice and I was good, so maybe just inflammation? Regardless, super happy with how this week went and I look forward to finishing up the rest of these high mileage weeks. Tappppeeeerrrr, wait for meeeee!!!

MCM Training: Week 9/18

This marks the official halfway point of training (taper and all). That’s 9 solid weeks of running! Yay for 9/18.

Total Miles: 51

Tempo: 8.09 miles

8:17, 8:21, 8:15, 8:23, 8:18, 8:08

Since we got rained out of hills, I opted for a tempo on Tuesday. I slept through my first alarm so it was a bit later than I planned. Not a problem exactly, except it meant I was running into the kids walking/biking to elementary school. Ugh, most of the parents lack an understanding of being polite and sharing the sidewalk. Think that threw off a couple of my miles. Especially the lady that didn’t realize she had a flat tire on her bike. Anyways, went pretty well and the distance was no real trouble.

Intervals: 6.99 miles

7x800m – 3:30, 3:25, 3:25, 3:24, 3:23, 3:18, 3:17

This went awesome. I felt fine though on a few I did back off a bit from the pace set by the two running partners with me (consistently too fast haha). Calves were a little tight at the end, but the workout went well. Of course, after 5 I just wanted to be done but it was easier to get to the end when people run with me.

Long Run: 16.03 @ 9:10 pace

A little rougher run as I probably wasn’t hydrated as well as I should have been. Did the first stretch of 4.5 with  a few others almost exactly at a 10:00 pace. It was nice to ease in with that as my knees were aching a bit when I woke up. At that point I was warmed up and the main group start I jumped back into 9:00 miles. Pace was semi-consistent for the next 11, though there was one crazy fast mile and a slightly slower one in there. Kind of surprised I brought the average down so much. Fueling went well and I did carry water with me so it wasn’t too bad. Yay for another long run complete!

This week was interesting due to non-running related things. Regardless I got them done and the mileage logged. I have been wondering if I want to try moving all my workouts to the morning in an effort to get around these afternoon storms. I don’t like throwing the schedule out of whack haha. The next few weeks will be the interesting ones.

MCM Training: Week 8/18

Back on regular schedule. And week 8/18 done! That’s practically halfway through training (if you don’t count the taper weeks haha).

Total Miles: 53

Tempo: 7.03 miles

5 pace miles @ 8:19, 8:16, 8:17, 8:15, 8:10

Spent the warm up mile getting myself into a reasonable pace. Once I started the pace miles, I was able to settle in well and hardly had to check my watch. I admit to getting distracted a couple times so I lost pace when that happened, but generally only for a few seconds and then I was able to get back where I needed to be.

Intervals: 6.73 miles

7x800m – 3:28, 3:28, 3:29, 3:33, 3:27, 3:28, 3:22

I had hydrated well and felt good for this one (except for the fact that I was starving). Had my coach pacing with me so the first few were easy. The actual number of repeats didn’t seem too bad, except for the last one. And I think that’s mostly because I just wanted to be done. I’ll have to be more careful about having a pre-workout snack as these workouts get longer. I will admit it was nice to not be the only one running at my pace 🙂

Long Run: 20.09 miles @ 9:05 pace

Woohoo!! This one went awesome. The 9 people starting early pushed a bit fast the first loop, so I hung back the second and pretty much stayed around 9:05. Took me that long to really wake up. Had fun running with 2 of the girls for the last 12 miles. I admit to choosing at times to just hang with them even though the pace may have slowed down just so I could hang out and chat.  I guess that worked out though because if I hadn’t had those few slow miles, my average would have been a good bit lower. I felt good for this – didn’t start feeling my calf muscles until the last 1.5 and probably only because the water stop was likely longer than it needed to be. I was on point with hydration, e-caps, and fuel which I think made a difference.

Another good week of training. I think I’ve pretty much picked out the fuels and stuff I like best for this training cycle (sports beans, honey stinger gels, and Nuun!). Which has made it easier for me to be on top of the workouts and recover well from day to day. As they get longer it gets a bit more difficult, but nothing too bad at the moment. Just the occasional lazy day where I have to guilt trip myself into running. Usually on easy/recovery days. Also in probably 2-3 weeks I’ll be looking to get my next two pairs of shoes as both of these have broken the 300 mile mark and I’m beginning to feel the wear a bit. So that’s about it. Now for a semi-step back week!

MCM Training: Weeks 6 & 7

And I’m back! It’s been a few days, but I have 2 new recaps for while I’ve been gone. I fully admit it was difficult to get up and go run early while visiting with my family. I wanted to sleep in like everyone else was! But here we go, recaps for weeks 6/18 and 7/18 –

20130810_093202Week 6
Total (Running) Miles: 47.5
This was an interesting week. As I was heading out to join the extended family for our yearly get together/vacation on Friday, I kind of shoved all my workouts together. No rest day until after all 6 days of running were complete. This means I did my interval workout on Thursday and then the long run Friday morning before leaving. Just keep that in mind.

Hills: 4×1.0 miles – 8:19, 8:18, 8:18, 8:01
It was a hot day, but my repeats were right on. I decided to change up the data fields on my Garmin in an effort to stay on pace better. The past few weeks I’ve managed to reach my time goals, but haven’t been very consistent. So in an attempt to better train my body for my goal pace, I switched one of my screens to 2 data fields. All it shows is lap pace and lap time. Using that to track my pace and make sure each quarter mile has me still on track, I was able to be way more consistent. Of course, the last repeat was fast, but since it was the last one it’s okay.

Intervals: 6.6 miles
6x800m – 3:33, 3:32, 3:31, 3:30, 3:29, 3:22
Awesome workout! Way better than my intervals the week before. Using the same new screen/data fields as from the hill workout. That allowed me to be super consistent and negative splits! Wooo, if you can’t tell I was super excited after this one was finished. I felt great, my legs felt great, and the entire workout felt good. No being ready to be done after the first repeat like last week.

Long Run: 16.08mi @ 8:55 pace
This one started slow. I had some trouble pacing myself for the first 7 miles or so. Had someone biking with me since it was early Friday morning & I didn’t have any running partners available. Chatting with him I think is what kept me from staying on pace. But after he swung off about halfway through (it was light out by then) I settled in to a better pace. The last 8 miles were all sub-9:00. However, since the loop I’d mapped out ended up being a bit short, tagging on the final 1.5 miles was a bit of a struggle.

Week 7

Total Running Miles: 50.25

20130803_081453Tempo: 7 miles – 5 at pace – 8:25, 8:20, 8:16, 8:18, 8:12

Much later start than planned as I was out late night fishing. It was mad humid besides being warm. So I was a bit slower getting started and settling into pace, but once I did I was good. Much more useful for me staying on pace and mostly consistent with the different fields on the Garmin. Running up and down US1 would normally be boring, but the activity with lobster season about to open made it interesting.

Intervals: 6.5 miles

6x800m – 3:36, 3:30, 3:31, 3:33, 3:28, 3:25

This one was super hard. More than anything I was just tired from the mix of running and spending the days out in the sun boating, fishing, and diving. So it was a struggle every morning to get up earlier than everyone else so I could get my runs completed. Plus there was no track available, so I had to work out a back and forth route to get these repeats in. Managed something of a loop from my uncle’s place to a boat ramp and then a little access road to a camp ground. It was a beautiful day, but a rough workout. Kept tempting myself to either cut it short or take it easier. Not as fast as some, but I got it all done.

20130810_063630Long Run: 18.06 miles @ 9:07 pace

Whew, 4AM in the Keys is early and DARK.  While the run itself wasn’t bad and I had a follower on a bike (and a basket full of supplies), this was a stressful run. First because it was so dark that even with our lights it was a struggle not to trip over stuff on the US1 bike path. Plus my follower would spazz over anything (for example, a leaf the wind was carrying scared her & she freaked thinking it was a bat…). The first few miles were slow because I was dealing with someone’s biking mishaps. Then the middle miles felt pretty okay. Also wore my camelbak for water and between that and the crazy dark I think I was too tense. 14-18 was hard, but I managed. And 8 of the 18 miles were sub-9:00 so even though it didn’t feel like the best run it still went well.

So overall I’m happy with the last 2 weeks of training. I admit I was a little worried about the 18 miler only because all three 18 milers I did for the last training plan were just horrible. Bad days, bad workouts, bonk, etc. 20 and 22 were fine, but 18 mile runs were just miserable. I assumed that may be the same case this time around too, but while the run wasn’t the best and still stressful, it went way better than the least 3 times. Spending all day in the sun definitely made the runs, and getting up for them, rougher. Especially the first few days as there was a crazy strong current ripping along the reefs. But I still got up and got my workouts done.

Not quite half way to taper but getting there! And just to make you jealous.


The Training Plan is Here

planA couple weeks ago I hit up a member of my running group in Florida who had coached me for my first marathon.  He was kind enough to agree to write up my plan and coach me again.

Now when I say coach, it’s a pretty loose system. He crafts a training plan based on where I am, what I want to run for the race (time goal, etc), and how long until then. Then I send weekly updates with how the training for the past week went. I’ll give total mileage, how I felt, whether I hit the targets (pace or otherwise) for each of the workouts, and whatever else I want to say.

Races are included in the plan and we use finish times for those to gauge any changes once it’s started. If I have questions or want to make modifications, I just hit him up. Otherwise, it’s pretty much on me to follow it and prep for the race.

Luckily, I’ve been working my running schedule in preparation for this training. Tempo work, interval work, and long runs trying to be at about the target I imagined I’d need. For the marathon, the training plan is starting 18 weeks out from the race (which is pretty normal, as usually it’s 4 months with most of the people I’ve run with). So I’m a little less than a month from officially starting it (late June).

I’m excited looking over the schedule and a little nervous too. I’ll max out a couple weeks before the race at 60+ miles and have 4 x 20+ mile long runs. It’s a tougher program than I ran before, but we have a better idea of what I can do with a marathon and I have a faster goal this time.

Not that it wasn’t real before, but actually getting the plan has turned on the competitive spirit. I’m ready to do this!

Speed Work

So I’ve been talking the last few months about how I need to start adding in speed work, but haven’t actually done it. Well, now I’m 3 weeks in with 1-2 speed workouts a week. I try to split them up, one on Monday and the other on Thursday, so that my tougher workouts are spread across the week (Saturdays are long run days).

?????????????????Here’s the two speed workouts I prefer.

Tempo Run (Monday):

Mondays are all about the tempo run. Tempo runs are about maintaining a specific and more importantly consistent pace. Distances and paces will vary. Some will tell you do it at a ‘comfortably hard’ pace – where you could ask a running partner if the pace is okay but could not keep up conversation. Others will give you a time goal.

In my case, I do a mix of both. When I’m not training towards anything in particular I have traditionally gone by the ‘comfortably hard’ measurement. Right now I do have a goal in mind. As such I’ve set myself a goal pace to run this race at. Hopefully my logic here will make sense. Since my interval workouts will target the ability to have bursts of speed I’ve decided my tempos will be all about that consistent pace. And since my plan is related towards the end goal of a marathon, I’m pacing myself at slightly fast 8:00 miles. (As a note: if I ran that pace for a marathon I’d finish around 3:30. My current half marathon PR averages a 7:35 pace.)

To start it’s a pretty short workout. I’m doing 5 miles: one mile warm-up, three miles at pace, and then one mile cool down. My goal over the next few months is to slowly increase the distance—upping the miles so that I’ll be doing more at pace. Eventually something like a 10-12 mile workout with 8-10 miles at pace. While hoping this will rub off on me for the actual race, I’m more focused on it helping me get back into pacing myself properly (because right now I’m generally all over the place).

Want to read a little more about tempos? Check out this Running Times article with the basics or this Competitor article talking about different types for different training.

Interval Work (Thursday):

Out of habit from running with a group that usually does interval work on Thursdays, it’s now my preferred day as well. Just fits well with the schedule. Now I generally prefer doing these workouts at a track because the distances are easily measurable and do not require checking my Garmin every 30 seconds. I know there are downsides considered with the action of running in the same direction that can cause imbalance in your muscles, but I haven’t had too much trouble.

My usual interval workout involves 800m repeats. I start with a 1 mile warm-up (NEVER neglect your warm-ups and cool downs, they are so important to help keep from hurting yourself) before jumping into the repeats. Then it’s 800 repeat, 1/4 mile (or 400m or 1 lap on a track) at an easy jog,  800 repeat, etc. After the last repeat, I’ll close out the workout with at least a 1 mile cool down. Sometimes I’ll do a little more for mileage or if my muscles are still a bit tight.

If it’s a race week, I’ll traditionally cut back to 400m repeats and no more than 4. If I’m feeling adventurous I may do longer repeats than 800m, but 800s are my default (look up Yasso 800s if you get a chance). When not in training, a usual interval workout will be 4x800m and about 5 miles long. As training progress for the marathon, I’ll slowly be upping the repeats to finish at 10 total 800s (the last 2 workouts before taper).

Besides having a set distance, interval workouts also have a set speed. My goal right now is to average 3:30 per 800m repeat or the equivalent of a 7:00 mile pace. I also attempt to progressively get faster through a workout. While training for my first marathon I regularly finished my last repeat at 3:25 or faster. My goal is to attempt to do the same this time; train my body to be faster at the end than the beginning.

Interval workouts are great for two reasons. For one your teaching your legs the feeling of a faster pace/turnover than most of your other training will do. The second, assuming you work to get faster with each repeat, is the idea of finishing strong. Teaching your body to give more when it’s tired than when it’s first starting and full of energy.

So that’s about it. Just a quick little chat covering the speed workouts that make up my conditioning right now.