Running Log: August 16-27

August 16-27

Ha ha. I thought I’d get around to collecting my thoughts about the summer in Germany and blog about it, but look, it’s already time for another recap on running.

I’m consistently getting closer to regular 6 miles. I haven’t done more than an eight mile run in over five months, but I’m getting closer to the point where I’ll try an 8-10 miler (maybe even next weekend?!). These past three weeks I’ve averaged around 20 miles as well and run more days in a row.

I obviously didn’t run on the day I flew back to the US, but I ran the four days after that and kept the runs shorter and comfortable (I was woefully reminded of what running in sub-tropic climates in the summer feels like). I managed to get a cold (probably from sitting around too long in air-conditioning in sweaty clothes). Still, I felt ready for an interval session on Friday, so after rearing myself in after a fast warm-up mile, went for 3 x 800s with .2 mile recoveries. The humidity of South Florida is not to be underestimated, though. I found the 3 were enough and couldn’t get under 3:16. But it’s a good baseline for September running in Florida and training in these conditions will prepare me for the cooler, drier fall in Berlin when I head back.

Hope everyone is running/recovering well and that Harvey doesn’t leave too large a trail of destruction. Stay safe!

 

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Some sort of recap. Happy Summer

Hello again, cool people (of course I mean this figuratively ;) I’m well aware it’s high summer)


It’s been a while, and I’ve been off the radar not enjoying Germany’s lack of summer weather, but enjoying enough of the sights and opportunities to make up for that. I missed my goal of steadily building my mileage through the end of August, but I actually appreciated a summer not feeling pressured to compete my training plan as well as possible.

Really, I really enjoyed just letting go of running for a few months.

I found a happy place between marathon training and not running: running a few miles a few times a week at the pace/intervals that seem comfortable and compatible with my lifestyle. I truly learned to use running as a stress release and fell in love with it again. Taking competition out of the equation helped me to appreciate the way running makes me feel and not have it as an added source of stress.

Still, as a life of routine and work looms again on the horizon, and as my foot feels as though it’s finally healed, I’m starting to think about a few fall races and having some sort of running goals. I wouldn’t mind averaging 4 runs and at least 25 miles a week soon. I don’t think this negates how I’ve learned to think abou running again, I just think it means I’m looking for a bit more structure in my life again, and a running plan helps me with that. So far I’m not considering beyond 20km. There’s a running series in Oct.-Nov. I’m eyeing, and then maybe some shorter races with the bro and BF, if they’re interested ;)

My base? Let’s see: longest run since May was just short of 8 miles. Fastest run was an 800m interval (5th of 7) in 3:01. Best runs were a 6 miler in 49 mins and 2 miler in 13:12. Besides running though, I’ve done a lot of walking (Europe: that word explains everything as far as miles logged walking, doesn’t it?), biking and swimming. I averaged 6 days of activity a week, so I’m not unfit. And I did kind of build slowly, averaging 15 miles a week and only topping at 22.

So yep. That’s my return to the running world. Still trying to work up the effort for my real world blog (so much to write, so little time), but we’ll see. :-)

Hope everyone is uninjured and fall training is going swell! – Dorothea

Running Log: May 15-31 (hey, I’m still running!)

Wow. So that went quickly. I may not be able to log again until the end of June, so I figured I’d blog about the rest of May now. I logged a grand total of 52.1 miles in May, most of those in the first half. Still, it’s more than a mile a day average and I find a bit of consolation in that.

graph

My mom arriving put my “whatever works” plan to the test.  I found the first few days after she came tough to carve out time to run, but am slowly getting back into waking up early to get some running in, since I know a day with running is always a good day. We’ll see how well that carries out since the sun doesn’t go down until after 10 and summer nights are made for staying up late. But the sun is also up by 5, so I have no other excuses about getting up.

Runs of note:

  • I did another 5k test at around  22:10, and I’m starting to feel motivated about shorter distance running again to maybe shoot for a sub-21:30 in two weeks. I’m flirting with the idea of a few intervals this coming week as well.
  • My longest run was about 6 miles and while I plan to get more of those in the next few weeks, it’s not the top of my list of priorities. It was my first run with the new orthotic inserts and my feet were heavy, but it’s good for the arobic strength so I’ll def. continue going longer than 6, if I can.
  • I ran for a bit barefoot on the beach and found the foot not as opposed to it as it may have been a month ago.

In other news, I had my first PT session and it went well. Basically, it was a wake-up call that I need to return to high-school habits and stretch before every run. I’d totally neglected that and so the run of injuries over the past few years probably has a very logical answer after all.

Before you say “well, duh”, I should add that I have been stretching, but not all my muscle groups, not before running but rather after, and not for at least 20 seconds as the PT recommended. These are all things I’ve changed and I think I’m slowly feeling a whole lot better.

Looking forward to my first race since Dec., some more pain-free mornings and running, and higher humidity and heat as summer comes. Just kidding… the humidity can hide for as long as it wants.  I also may post a bit of my biking escapades next month as well, since I’m about to start doing some longer rides soon.

Hope everyone running this weekend (James and Paula!) have a good time and good times.

Cheers, Dorothea

Running Log: May 1-14

Running hard or hardly running? Either way, I am happy to report that I am taking steps in the right direction.

Running May so far

I finally saw my foot doctor again, and after she fussed at me a bit about failing to cash in my physiotherapy and orthotic prescriptions, she recommended I continue going out for runs as I felt able, and she told me to see her again after I had actually followed her instructions (for the record: it wasn’t my fault I didn’t do so the first time! I swear!).  According to her diagnosis, I have an imbalance in the lower back that causes the pain to radiate down through the Achilles and peroneal tendons. So I start physio next week and get my new orthotics for day shoes and sport shoes at the end of this week. Hopefully I’ll have good things to report.

While the foot is still being annoying and I do have a slight phobia of foot injuries now that affects me during and after runs, the last few runs have been okay. Most aversion to running right now is almost all mental. I mean, I did take time off after an impromptu interval session, and that’s because the bones all weren’t too happy with me after that (I know, my bones aren’t the ones injured- but they take the brunt of the stress when tendons decide to take a day off), but I could have gone the third day and since then, my foot has actually been cooperating pretty well.

I’ve lately been feeling the need for speed a lot more these past few weeks than during marathon training. I notice for the first time in a while that my average pace during marathon training is a good amount slower than when running recreationally, because during marathon training I’m doing a lot more running (duh) and more easy miles. Also, getting energy up for long intervals once a week is much harder than going out for short tempo runs several times a week. Add these realizations to more reasons why it’s a good thing I took this break.

Meanwhile, Berlin seems to be telling me it’s time to get serious about running again.

It’s finally spring time here, and I’m seeing runners everywhere. Yesterday, there was the Big25 (25k race) as a part of the Berlin Runner’s Cup and I had the pleasure/curse of seeing them outside my window. I’m kidding… I felt a slight tinge of “why am I not running?” and then proceeded to cheer a few on. I’m not ready to do 25k right now, and my soul knows this. But I did head out for a pleasant 4-miler in the palace gardens of Schloss Charlottenburg later that evening, so it all worked out.

Looking forward, I’m continuing the “whatever works” plan and am kind of excited about PT. Does that make me weird?

Happy Monday!

 

Log: March 20 through April 30th

Hi! I’m back with a rather unusual and long (but not unusually long, if you know me) update post where I try to help you (and myself) work through what I’ve learned over the past month and a half of silence.

Lesson #1: I can give up running. It’s not that I want to give it up now, or ever, but I’ve realized that if I couldn’t run all of a sudden, I can survive. That being said, lesson #2: it takes a lot to stop being a runner. I’ve been injured, I haven’t been training, I’m barely running, but I’m still a runner! I will always be a runner as long as it’s a way I look to spend my free-time and my number one hobby. And I don’t need anyone to agree with me for me to feel this way.

This may sound kind of bland for you, but it’s big news to me, and it’s a good intro to where I’m at now.

The graphic update: 

running
running running break break break running

It took a while for the 18 miler right before (or at the peak of) my injury to stop making every run after that look like a smidgen. Now, a 6 mile in my plan is tower that gets called a “long run.”

I go out for 1-4+ mile runs. Usually, I’ll still do a short warm-up run for strength-training. I’ve pushed myself for longer runs over these past two weeks, but still need to be careful about doing them too soon within one another.

Most of these runs have been fast. Fewer runs and fewer miles while still riding off some marathon fitness mean that almost every run has felt fresh. Giving myself the freedom to run fast when I feel like it, not when the plan tells me, means I never know how the run will end up. I also had some really great runs. For example, that “race” on the 27th was a run that started off so fast, I decided to see if I could hold it for a 5k. Turns out, I still have a 22:09 5k in me. And it was fun!

On the other hand, I can’t expect to log any PRs based off this… but I’m not looking to do that right now anyway, and it’s still a log!

The verbal update:

On the physical front, it seems like my body’s mechanics finally caught up with me. I have a wonky back (probably not helped by my notoriously poor posture) and wonky feet (definitely not helped by breaking toes and playing barefoot soccer). When I saw my doctor at the end of March, she did the normal “does this hurt” tests and listened to my symptoms. She figured my back was the problem, took an x-ray, and prescribed shoe orthotics and physical therapy visits. At the time, I was surprised that she didn’t x-ray my feet, and I didn’t think to tell her that while nothing she did to test my feet hurt, if I turn my foot on it’s side, I felt a pain there. I guess I thought that maybe I shouldn’t be turning my foot like that anyway, and that was the problem.

Since my doctor said my back was the problem and I had the go-to to continue running, within reason, I did get off the running break (it’s not in the chart above, but I did take about two weeks off running). I still have the pain in my foot though, and I haven’t been able to get the orthotics or PT yet, because my job status changed, and therefore also my insurance, so I think another visit is in order.

Tl; dr: I’m able to run, but I’m still having problems where my foot doesn’t feel great after every run, so I’m technically still injured and not diagnosed, and I need to see my doctor again.

On the mental front, I’ve had some major improvements. I can almost say I’ve had a complete lifestyle change in the opposite direction of running, and it’s, um, life changing.

I guess the best way to explain my running plan right now is “whatever works.” If my foot feels okay, I have time and I’m running just to run, I run. If it doesn’t feel okay, or I really have another priority, or I’m running just to burn some calories but for no other mental/physical benefit, I don’t run.

This is where the huge shift is. I looked at what running did for me in the past and what it actually should be doing for me. For the past ten years, running:

  1. Kept me sane, gave me alone time and a chance to do something unacademic
  2. Required me to constantly chose between running, family, and work
  3. Allowed me to procrastinate on my academics
  4. Helped me get some really great ideas for my writing
  5. Helped me control my weight
  6. Kept my immune, cardiovascular, and neurological systems in top-form
  7. Gave me massive appetite and excuses, so I often overate and/or ate unhealthily
  8. Gave me a natural high, gave me reasons to be proud of my body

While many of these are good reasons to run, what I needed running to stop doing were 2, 3, and 7.

I guess I should mention that what I was going through with my running was a huge (many times helpful) distraction in my life. However, for the past few months, I’d been given many hints that running was maybe not working for me in the same way anymore. It would distract me from my struggles with finances in Berlin, working part-time while working on my dissertation, remaining active in uni life, and it was fueling some efforts to meet a body-image ideal I’ve been chasing since college.

So, while I say I need running to stop doing things 3, 2, 7, I realized I needed to stop blaming the activity and look at the choices I was making when I went out for that activity. I realized I made those choices because a) I had set a goal (sometimes not reasonable given my other responsibilities) and would sacrifice too much to meet those goals and b) I was unhappy about something that I could look toward other solutions to help fix. Running is not the cure-all for my life.

Since March 9th or so, I haven’t been following a plan and therefore I don’t wake up with the mentality that running is my priority for the day. This may be self-understood for many, but there are many of you reading who may know exactly what I’m talking about. The pressure of getting the run ticked off the list for the day, getting that workout in, is something any of us striving for a specific race or running/health goal can feel. I had been feeling that way since before summer of 2015 and that was too long.

I’m going to just tell you a little bit about what I went through to get to where I am right now, but I also realize my post is already getting long enough as it is… you could just skip to the end, if you want.

I didn’t realize that I was putting myself under this pressure of constantly being in training until this latest injury. Since setting my goals in summer of 2015 to PR in the 5k, then PR in the half and full marathons in the winter, I was on a running high that made me want to keep training and keep racing, so I signed up for races in the fall of 2016. But when I broke my toe last summer, I still didn’t use the break (literally and figuratively) as a chance to step back. instead, I stepped up my cross-training to fully replace marathon training. This meant 2 to 4.5 hours cycling a day. I’m not even a pro runner! It’s not like I had that kind of time, but I couldn’t shut off the voice in my head saying I needed to get back into training in time for a fall marathon. So I went from crazy cross training right back into my training plan, where I left off, started too fast, too soon, and then injured myself again. When I realized I really couldn’t get the fall marathon anymore, I still totally wanted redemption. So, I signed up for two marathons in the spring and got back into training. Lo and behold, I got injured again. It took me a while, but that was finally the smack in the face I needed. I realized I couldn’t train anymore, and needed to reassess what running does in my life.

So I did.

weekly run stats

Since following the “whatever works” plan, I’ve been logging a heck of a lot less miles. But I also have much better feelings associated with my runs, and many more good ones. Somehow, I also haven’t miraculously gained 5 hundred pounds or lost my fitness. Sure, I couldn’t run a marathon right now and I’ve gained about 5 pounds. But those five are only seven above my medically ideal weight anyway, and they’re easy to hold with my normal eating habits, so I figure they’re healthy. And I’m not gunning for a marathon or any PRs now anyway.

It’s finally pass the date of the main goal race of the year, and I’ve decided not to run the marathon in June. I have an annual company 5k I’m still doing in June and a campus 10k in July that I signed up for the sake of having some running community event to attend, but I’m not training for them specifically and I’m going to try and keep all other races off the schedule until I’m secure in dedicating time and energy to training again.

Right now, I’ve pushed running back into it’s spot next to reading fiction not related to my dissertation, watching movies, blogging, and random adventures out in Berlin. Just where it should be.

I’m still keeping track of my running, because it’s a nice way to check in with what I’m doing with my time and how my body it feeling. But I haven’t decided if I still want to do a blog post every week or not.

That being said, all of you who are pursuing goals right now, more power to you! I’m still an avid cheerleader. :-) And I still live vicariously through you.

Cheers, and happy running. -Dorothea

Log: March 6-19 (weeks four and not so five)

First of all, this is a late post and that’s a bit lame. In retrospect, I probably was reluctant to post about my first “failed” week, since I’m so used to writing when things are going well. But they’re not going well right now- I’m injured (even if still a bit in denial about it) and have a hectic personal and family life at the moment, but I figured I should update all the same.

Secondly, thank you to everyone who gave me tips for my heel pain. I tried all of them (not quite at the same time, of course) and none were bad advice. Thank you!

The problem is, no amount of  magic is better than the magic of pure rest. After completing the first three runs of last week alright, I still felt the condition of my right foot deteriorating, and I decided to do what I probably should have done as soon as I noticed a bigger problem- take a break.

I finally pulled the brakes two Fridays ago, because I realized the pain in my foot may not even be PF, and I was feeling discomfort in other parts of my foot as though I’m compensating, which is a bad sign. I didn’t think quickly enough to get an appointment before an unscheduled trip home, but I booked an appointment with a foot doctor (who is a runner herself) for as soon as I’m back in Berlin (in about a week). I’m not running until my foot has been checked out. I figure that whatever I have needs some rest anyway, and if what I have is more serious, I can get a head-start on the healing time the doctor predicts for me.

In the meantime, I also took a good, long look at myself and decided I this forced break is probably what I needed, and I need to be easier on myself.

As most of us do, I find being easy on myself very difficult. I’m a Type A personality, and even when I’m doing well in school, work, running, and in my relationships (or so I’m told), I never believe that to be the case. I always think there’s something I need to do better… and there probably is! No one is perfect! But that perfectionism mentality is pretty perfect in making one think one can be perfect- and that’s the curse of it.

There are personal struggles all of us go through, whether they be body image, relationships, work environment- basically figuring out what we want for our future and how we want to get there. I’ve had my fair share of these struggles,  but while I’m still young, I’ve lived long enough to know there are no quick and easy solutions and that I need to figure out what goals I think are worth taking the long route for.

However, I still look for the easy way out though in my work and in my eating habits… and I developed a few unhealthy patterns because of the resulting mentality. These past weeks of unscheduled rest days were daily reminders that I can and should have enough respect and love for my body to go easy on it for as long as needed, and I shouldn’t worry about the miles not run and the calories not burned, and I definitely don’t need to worry about the time not run…because there’s always a way to use time well.

So, until I’m cleared to run again, I’m not going to drive myself crazy with marathon training. Maybe I won’t even run any marathons until the fall, or this year. If so, the only person who really cares is me, and if I say I’m okay with not running, I’m sure I’ll find ways to be happy without it.

Of course, that being said, I know being active is a part of my lifestyle, and I am happy when I’m doing something even if it’s not running. But it doesn’t have to be intense or at the level of marathon training. I tried that last summer after breaking my toe, and ended up injured again anyway.

So, for now, things like swimming, biking, and weight training to keep some fitness and get some energy out is all I need. In the meantime, I also need to straighten out a weird relationship with food and exercise I’ve developed since last year, so it’s probably good to start at square “A” in training and fueling.

graph
These runs include: 8 x 800s at 3:30 or less with 400m recoveries, I had a 3:25 average and felt strong and controlled throughout. The heel was complaining afterward, but not as much as after long-run Saturday; an easy 7 miler with a fast finish; a 3 mile tempo run at sub- 8 mpm; and what was supposed to be an easy 3 miler that became reduced to 1, in order to preserve myself for my schedule 13 miles at half marathon pace. That didn’t happen, so I ended up with a tad above 22 miles for week four. Week five started off with a two one-mile test runs… and then a few strides at the park that weren’t so great either.

In short, yep, marathon training weeks four and five aren’t ideal. But I’m pushing myself out of the denial and depression and into some more positive thinking, because that’s just how I roll.

Hope daylight savings didn’t kick you in the butt too much and that training is going well for all you April marathon folks!- Dorothea

Log: Feb 27th- March 5th (week three)

Well, this post almost didn’t happen. Next week’s might not.  I’m  in awe of people who have full-time jobs, kids, marathon training and still have time to blog about it. My daisy-chain linked hat is tipped in your direction (and maybe the direction of your sig. other who helps you get it all done ;) ).

new-week

This was a satisfactory week. I’m a bit hesitant to praise it in light of a bout of PF pain that decided to rear its ugly head after yesterday’s long run, but there’s a bottle of water in the freezer and some supportive socks being worn and we’ll see what a nice day of rest can do. Plus, I had PF pain last week after the long run too, and it went away by Monday’s interval run. Magic?

This week marks the the highest weekly and daily mileage I’ve done since Marathon Four over a year ago. I like to think that I slowly worked up to this, but I do feel kind of stressed going from 14 to 18 miles in four weeks. I guess it’s normal? It just seems a bit quick. Maybe my PF agrees with me. Who knows. I think my feet are just complaining about a bad shoe/treadmill combo that I should have been more careful about.

47.5 miles and an 18-mile long run could summarize this week, but I want to give a shout-out to the individual runs:

  • Intervals on Monday were fun, but tough: 6 x 1000 meters in 4:15 or less. 5/6 intervals were done in 4:01 to 4:07. My fourth one was 4:31. Recoveries were 3 minutes.
  • Tuesday’s easy run was supposed to be 10 miles, but I cut it short at 9.2. I didn’t want to run it at all, but once I was out there, I felt decent. Unfortunately, I procrastinated enough on the run that I then had to cut it short after all. The problems of balance.
  • Wednesday was an alternating workout. I alternated 9 and 8 minute miles and did this fairly successfully since it was on the treadmill. At the beginning of the run, I didn’t think I could keep it up (still tired from Mon), but I loosened up by the last miles.
  • Thursday was a rest day, but I commuted to work. I actually commuted via bike 4/5 days this week. Wheel power.
  • On the schedule for Friday were fartleks: 5 miles. I just went out and randomly picked intervals to go faster or slower. Overall 44 minutes including one mile warm-up, so not shabby. Got some 17 km per hour strides in there, too, so got some speed.
  • Saturday: went out for 18 miles in the kind of mood that it’s good to have an 18 mile run to work off some steam with. I was basically annoyed with the world until mile 6, but then on the trails, in beautiful spring sunlight and in the embrace of the green trees, I felt better. I saw a family of warthogs, got some fuel about halfway through, and generally finished the run feeling surprisingly good. I accidentally went .7 miles over, which made up for Tuesday’s missed mileage. Today, all systems are go except for the right foot.

On deck for tomorrow is an 8 x 800m in 3:30 which isn’t really scaring me, but I hope my foot is ready for. I’m debating checking the track or at least postponing the interval.We’ll see how good I am at smart decision making by the end of the week.

See you then! (hopefully). In the meantime, anyone had PF issues and wants to tell the tale? I know about icing and rolling the foot over tubes and balls, but I wonder if there’s other kinds of magic tricks I haven’t heard of yet.

 

Log: February 20-26th (week two)

Good news: I had a good second week of marathon training

Bad news: I’m not racing a marathon on April 23rd

Bad news: that’s two races I signed up for in April that I’m not running

Good news: I can transfer the entry of one of the races to a race in June

Bad news: It’s an evening race. I’m not a great evening racer. It usually involves staying on my feet too much beforehand, being tired, and having a weak bladder

Good news: It’s in June. I have enough time to prepare and get my sh** together.

So, that’s my thought process on running these past few days. Cancelling my attendance of the race boils down to saving 300 Euro. Saving 300 and being able to go home for three weeks versus paying +300 or not coming home at all and participating in 40 Euro race that gets held every year? To a runner, it may not sound as ridiculous as it first sounds that it was NOT an easy choice to make, but now that it’s made I’m happy.

graph

Running itself went well enough. As one can see from the graph above, I only had three kinds of runs this past week. Sure, those easier days had some faster paced strides and a few fast miles, but overall, I ran easy three days, had a longer mid-week run (11 miles), and had two intense workouts.

Workouts of this week : 4 x 1 mile with 400m (0r 2:30) recoveries and a “halvesie” long run with first half easy, second half marathon pace.

Turns out, my easy pace is about 20 seconds faster than the plan calls for (had to trick myself into running slowly by singing out loud on the run, no shame- it happens when you run solo) and my marathon pace (8 mpm) is too easy for an 8-mile stretch. My long run yesterday averaged at 8:10. Not meaning to brag, it just happened that I felt good yesterday and held an 8:40 average for the first 8 miles and 7:40 average for the second half. My paces miles 8-16 were 8:02, 7:48, 7:38, 7:40,  7:39, 7:21, 7:59 and then one at 7:01. Somehow, my body at mile 15 was like “hey, it’s a tempo run, might as well push it for the last mile and pretend like it’s mile 26 of a marathon and forget that fact that 7 minute miles were hard enough on interval day last Monday.” There was no “what are you even thinking?” in my interior monologue. Of course, I regretted it a bit after the run and the rest of the say, stretching out a lot of soreness today, but I was running off my first mid-run fuel this training cycle and generally feeling good after a week of mostly easy runs.

Can’t forget those intervals on Monday, though. After looking at the plan Sunday night, I kind of freaked out. It’s not that I haven’t done mile intervals in a while (I did them Jan 23rd) and they were three at 6:50 or less, but I had .5 recoveries. This time, I had to do 4 intervals with one lap recoveries. Geez. The first interval I actually recovered with 2:30 minutes and ended up running 0.15, so I didn’t even need a whole lap. Of course, the pace went down for the next interval and I recovered with 0.22 and 3 minutes. My paces were 6:58, 7:03. 6:55, 7:03. I needed a full 0.25 recovery after each interval following the first two. 2:30 was just not enough and my HR was at 185 by the last one. But, I got it done!

Confession: 3/5 runs this week were on the treadmill, including the interval session and 11 mile mid-week longish run. I felt it in my legs and back by the end of the week, which is why I’m glad the weather was good yesterday, because there was no way I was doing the 16 on the ‘mill. Monday’s use was the result of a kind of fear of getting the intervals done well outside. I wanted to be able to control as many factors as possible, and the track is still closed. My runs in the gym are always at 1.0 incline, though I cheated a bit for the last interval and did it at 0.5, dropping to 0.0 half-way through. Wednesday’s mid-week run was the result of procrastinating on it so much in the morning that I had to do it in the evening after work, and it was cold, dark, and rainy outside- the perfect trifecta of reasons not to run outside. Friday’s treadmill run was out of convenience, since I decided to do weight work at the gym. Note to self: don’t do a full-body workout the day before a long run, especially if it was the first time all week.

This week, I hope to do as many runs as possible outside, get my strength work done not on the day before the long run, and get through the 47 miles and 18-mile long run (I haven’t done that distance in more than a year) kicking. However, given the fact that I’ve had three weeks of building and I have an extra 40 days in the plan, I may make this a cutback week. We’ll see by Wednesday.

Hope you had/have a great week! -Dorothea

Fun fact: I saw two deer at mile 13 of my long run. They just bounded across my path and disappeared into the woods. There was something special about that moment and in me.

 

Log: February 13th-19th (week one)

week

This marked the first week of official marathon training, and I have to say, I’m very happy with how it went.

I’m following the Asics Target 26.2 Sub-3:30 training plan that used to be online but now isn’t, as far as I can tell (good thing I printed it out for future reference!). It’s a 16 week plan with 5 days of running each week starting at 27 miles and maxing at 49. Each week consists of an interval workout, and easy run, a tempo workout, a rest day, a “Parkrun” cross country race or hill workout, and a long run with a following rest day. There are fartleks, alternate paces (i.e. alternating paces every mile), steady-states, and halvsies (my label; first half of long run at easy pace, second half at marathon pace).

I used the last five weeks of this plan for my plan last marathon, so I am familiar with it. I meant to break 3:30 at the Fort Lauderdale marathon last February, but I knew ahead of time that lack of consistent pacing was my Achilles heal. However, I still BQ’ed and PR’ed by 18 minutes, so I know this plan is good. Also, the plan is set up to run Monday through Sunday, but I run Sunday through Saturday, so I actually end up maxing at about 53 miles (funny how that works, but it’s usually the case when one considers rolling versus calendar weeks).

At any rate, other than not having a cross country race to run on Fridays, I find it pretty easy to follow this plan. The two rest days definitely are a bonus and make dedicating the other five days to hard workouts more successful. However, as one may have noticed, I tend to commute by bike anyway during the week and sometimes end up doing weights on one of the days I don’t run, so I really have one pure rest-day a week- but it’s at least something! and this day is strictly observed. Also, having 2 rest days on the schedule means I don’t feel guilty when I decide not to take my bike or go to the gym on those days.

This training season, I skipped the first 4 weeks of the plan, started with week five and am skipping to week seven next week to accommodate the fact that my planned race is on April 23rd. Since I was at 35 miles a week average for the past month and had already built up to a solid 14 mile long run, skipping weeks 1-4 was not an issue. I even did a few workouts scattered throughout that time, so I actually felt strong for my first official workouts this week. In fact, I was able to go faster than the advised paces, but this may change as the mileage gets heavier and I incorporate more commutes again (I skipped riding my bike home from work 2/3 times this week because it was too cold in the evening).

Workouts on the schedule this past week: 12 x 400 at 95-100 minutes with 200m recoveries,  4 miles tempo at 7:30mpm, a 35 min. fartlek and 16 miles easy at 9mpm.

What I did:

9  x 400 at 95-97 seconds, one 400 at 90 seconds and one at 102 seconds. I accidentally only did 11 intervals. Somehow, I thought 12 x 400m + 11 x 200 m would be 4 miles, but it’s actually about 4.4 miles. Woops;

4 miles tempo at 7:28 mpm. I’m very proud of this one because I was running up and down some hard hills and still managed faster second than first part: 7:43, 7:18, 7:39 and 7:12. While it looks like it was not a steady pace, it was a steady effort with me pushing to keep the 7:30 pace for the end;

I forgot I was supposed to do a fartlek Friday and ended up doing a progression from 10 mpm to 5:45 mpm. Still, I think the effort equals about the same and gets the job done (though what do I know, I just kind of hope and pray these things- great training strategy, I know… may invest in a coach at some point in my life).

The long run yesterday made me feel like a badass- running through a heavy drizzle through the streets of Berlin will do that to you. ;) I didn’t got for 16 because I was a little tight on time and didn’t want to get too much more than 40 miles this week. Happy about the 15.42 and the 8:20 overall pace.

In summary, I ran 41.1 miles this week at good paces. I think at this point in the last marathon training season, I was not in the good shape I am now, so I’m confident about where I am during this point of this season. I’m not totally happy with my nutrition and I am developing some niggle at the bottom of my left hamstring that spoke up during a few of the runs since my intervals Monday, so I need to be careful. I’m stretching and foam rolling a bit more, as well as working harder to get 20% of my daily nutrients from protein, so hopefully I can speak differently next weekend.

In other news, I’m planning to go home in the spring and my family is talking about dates that are awfully close to the 23rd, so I really hope I am able to run my race! But right now, I might as well just keep training and hope for the best.

Hope you all had a good week, and have a good one next week.- Dorothea

Log: February 6th-12th

Urgh. What a week. I had a lot of fun last weekend, but lack of normal routine, different eating, no running (though enough other activity!) and time to get things done made returning to normal life in Berlin on Monday a bit of a drag. I got in a quick run and went off to work. You know you’re a runner when running is a higher priority than unpacking when you return from a trip.

Anyway, Monday was a rushed run, Tuesday was a rushed run, Wednesday was a rushed run, Thursday was a rushed run… and by the time it got to Friday, I was like “f***  it.” I didn’t want to spend another morning squeezing in the run, shower, breakfast, and getting ready to go before another long day of school/work.I skipped Friday’s run and after a few niggles this morning during my long run, I’m glad I had that day off.

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I did have mostly good runs all week, and surprised myself with a new route and unexpected extra mile on Wednesday because I couldn’t use the trails, because they were basically single-line ice-skating rinks.

I can’t explain progression runs Monday or Tuesday except that I didn’t feel like doing intervals and it felt right to just keep upping the pace. Average paces for all runs were in the 8:30s,except for today which I finished in an 8:55 pace. I don’t know. I wasn’t totally feeling it. But things will probably be better next week with normal routine and no uni appointments. Barely  managed 36 miles this week: I’m looking for the 40 next week.

Marathon training is in effect as of this week, and next week I have a 16 miler planned. We’ll see how it goes!

As a final announcement: I am taking off the first marathon I had planned in April. I made plans to go home for Easter, so I’ll just have the one for this spring. I’m actually more comfortable for it and look forward to good ole-fashioned training. Though, after that, I’m cutting down on running for a while. My running discipline is stronger than my writing discipline for a while now, and something needs to change.