update on the seventh week of traaaaaining (Feb 12-17)

First of all, can I just say that I’m glad I don’t always have to wake up at 5 AM to do a long run on a Saturday morning? That was a bit rough. But it did mean that I was done with my running before 10 AM, so of course it’s not all bad.

I’m still trying to figure out the best way to do my training posts. There’s a fine line between too little information and too much, and I’ve been walking it like I’ve had a bit too much to drink, so… yeah.

graph

As my chart shows, this week it was all about building mileage. Rather than a tempo run on Wednesday, the plan called for 7-miles easy. Compared to Tuesday, it was of course not that much. Following Tuesday, however, it felt like a never ending slog. I struggled through the last miles and was glad when I could rest on Thursday. This week, there were no urges on Thursday to go for a run. If anything, I was dreading having to go out for 19 on Saturday. But I did it! And maybe taking the band-aid off while still half asleep made it that much easier to put the long run I was dreading behind me. It was pretty difficult and I was ready to stop after mile 10. But I also guess that if I didn’t feel that way at the end of a 3 week build cycle, I wouldn’t be doing the training properly!

All told, I pulled off 46 miles this week without injury, even if I’ve got some niggles and may have overstretched my left hamstring a tiny bit. Hopefully today’s rest and stretching/foam-rolling routine will put that right.

And for some bonus details (not sure if these are interesting for you or not), here were my intervals on Monday:

Distance Duration Pace Notes
1 0.25 mi 1:35 6:20
2 0.25 mi 1:30 6:00 at 1 incline
3 0.25 mi 1:33 6:12 at 1 incline
4 0.25 mi 1:32 6:08
5 0.25 mi 1:31 6:04 at 1 incline
6 0.25 mi 1:31 6:04 at 1 incline
7 0.25 mi 1:30 6:00
8 0.25 mi 1:32 6:08 at 1 incline
9 0.25 mi 1:31 6:04 at 1 incline
10 0.25 mi 1:28 5:52 last “official” interval with the 1:30 jog recoveries
11 0.25 mi 1:22 5:28 after a quarter- mile jog

Granted, these were on the treadmill, but I’m happy with the way the interval session went. Part of the reason I went for one extra mile on Tuesday was riding off the success of the intervals. The other reasons I went the extra mile on Tuesday were that the plan had originally called for 10 (I had changed the plan to 9 in a moment of weakness), and I was boosted by my teammates in SquadRunner. It was probably good I stuck to the Runner’s World plan, because the idea is that I do challenge myself. I’m trying to listen to my body though, to make sure I’m challenging myself within reason. The last thing I want is to get injured again.

Looking ahead, I have a “fast” 15-miler to complete on the 24th, but this week is also a drop-down in distance, so I hope I’ll see some benefits of training so far! I also got new shoes (Brooks gel-Glycerin), so I’m looking forward to the “new shoe” feeling and reporting.

That’s it as far as I’m concerned. But I hope your winter (or summer, if you’re down under) running is also going well!

Cheers, Dorothea

 

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training week six update

This week was a week of reviews. I reviewed the benefits of consistency, the blessings and curses of trail running, and the fact that runger that can become all-consuming (or should that be “become all-consuming”?) if one doesn’t keep a close eye on one’s nutrition.

But first of all, in major news, I’m part of a virtual running team!

squadrunner

Last Sunday, I was invited by Paula at Never a Dull Bling to the SquadRunner team her husband, James at 50 in 50 Marathon Quest,  captains. A week later, I’m fully involved in the aspects of SquadRunning- daily quizzes, missions, boosts, and generally being part of a team that supports each other’s individual goals, but also seeks to kick other teams’ butts. ;-)

I have’t been part of a team since the one semester I tried cross country at my university (Fall 2013-before my blogging years). I guess one could say I’ve been a lone-wolf since high school sports, but there’s always been some running community I attached myself to- none the least WordPress’s community of runners (in which Falyn, another new teammate, also participates)- and now it’s team Runnin Down a Dream.

And because the team name is based on the song, you now get a link to the YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1D3a5eDJIs. Tom Petty, RIP.

So yes, that’s news! I’m super excited by the idea of missions. It makes the running seem more valuable than it is for just me and my training. However, I have to be careful about the slight pressure I feel to accept the missions and then do them. Because of Friday’s mission, I extended my easy run to cover 45 minutes. I don’t know if it was ideal that I did an extra 1.5 miles, but the fact that I didn’t want to do too much more than the 4 miles of my plan did make me keep them really slow- so I guess that’s a plus! And it got the team 65 extra points. And it didn’t affect my long run yesterday, so so far, so good.

But as for the reviews: training is going very well. My body seems to be adapting to the schedule of intervals, easy middle-long run, tempo run, rest day, easy, and long. Albeit it’s only been 6 weeks. We’ll see how it goes next week where the steady increase of mileage caps at 45 miles before an easier week of 36.

Basically, as many plans go, the plan cycles easier weeks every four weeks. I build every week for three weeks, and then have an easier week. Next week marks the last “build-week” and then, the week after, I get a bit of a break that ends in a 15 mile tempo run.

graph

But I’m getting too far ahead of myself! This week is the topic of discussion, and I should report that the hill intervals (done on the treadmill because it was Monday and cold and I was a wimp and didn’t feel like scoping out an appropriate hill) went well, and I enjoyed my run under the Brandenburg Gate on Tuesday.

Then, Wednesday came around and I didn’t feel human. I’d guess I was operating on a calorie deficit caused by the long run Tuesday and not having the time or nerves (I had an important presentation on Tuesday) to refuel properly. I paid the price Wednesday with low blood-sugar that I finally appeased with a chicken wing and breast from the local market. I actually follow a mostly vegetarian diet and avoid meat, but I just felt like I needed this. Turns out, it helped… but I still haven’t gotten over the ethical ramifications of that satisfaction. I recalculated my daily metabolism and saw that it is definitely higher now. I learned an important lesson on Wednesday that I really need to make sure I eat enough now that I’m fully in marathon training.

But this leads back to the first review: the consistency of training is working. On Wednesday, I also found the tempo run doable. I did cut off a mile (three instead of four) to not wear myself down too much, but I found holding a 7:30 mpm quite pleasant. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t welcome the rest day on Thursday, but I did feel as if I could have run if I wanted to, which is a good indication of my fitness. I am strictly adhering to rest-days this training cycle, though, because I know my body needs them and I’d rather feel too good to have a rest day than feel like I absolutely need it.

I already talked about Friday- one of the easiest runs in a while- and Saturday, well Saturday was good. But I was very lucky!

See, trail running is great. The soft running surface provided by trails are a boon for the legs when impacting them over 10 or more miles. There’s also enough happening on the trails that one always has something to see, do, or watch out for. It makes the miles go by so much more quickly. However, that same needed focus is also a curse, because the moment one takes one’s eyes off the trail, gets distracted by adjusting running belt straps or whatever, one takes a wrong step and goes KABLAM all over the trail. That was me yesterday. However, I was very lucky that the extent of my injuries were a slightly sore ankle, a nice big bruise below my knee, and dirty gloves. The fall happened within the first 2 miles of the long run, and I questioned my own sanity when I was seriously considering testing the legs on 16 more miles after that fall. Yet the initial assessment was mostly positive, and since I could run without pain (maybe a dull one from the bruise), I figured what the hell.

Of course, given my multiple tests of luck so far this training cycle, I do wonder when it will run out… but I’ve also tried to be smarter than in previous years (a much better pre- and post-running stretching/foam-rolling routine).  These are just some more small lessons in being careful.

Speaking of careful: I bought myself a new pair of shoes to be able to cycle some fresher kicks as the miles continue building on the other two.

Aaaaand, I think that’s it! I think I covered all the major points I wanted to cover with this recap of the week. If there’s ever a question of what I’m doing, or what the hell I’m doing, I’d love to see it in the comments!

See you next week. In the meantime, happy running! -Dorothea

p.s. a sub-note for niggles I want to keep an eye on: there’s a soreness in my right hamstring that I mostly feel when climbing hills that could develop into something if I’m not careful-should start looking into some massage therapy here in the area. Also, weird bump developed on top of foot that I’ve asked my podiatrist about before- and she said, if it doesn’t hurt, don’t worry about it. But it is starting to feel uncomfortable, so I’ll ask her about it next time.

Okay. Now I’m really done.

Training Week Five update

This post brought to you by song of the day: “Runaway” by Bon Jovi. And yes, it is a song used in the Stranger Things soundtrack album; and yes, I got the soundtrack because that was one of the awesome parts about that show. “Runaway” is a good song to have come on at mile 9 of a long run.

Moving on, the running gods must have decided to finally take some pity on me, because not only did the foot issue turn out to just be a sign that I need to replace my shoe inserts, but I also got in a good week of running. Actually, this was the best week I’ve done in almost a year. graph

Those pretty colors mean that I got in all the workouts my schedule called for, and I managed to keep my easy runs easy and the long run “slow.” Nutrition was also an “A” and generally, I’m grateful to be healthy at week five, and surprisingly not too tired this afternoon.

As I mentioned last week, I was worried about my foot going into Monday’s fartlek. So, I started off very conservatively. I felt some twinges through the first two miles, and it flared a little at mile 2, which was right by an U-Bahn station. I stretched it out and decided that I would try to run one more block, and if it was an issue, I’d get on that subway. The next block came and went, the next station came and went, I reached 3.5 miles and still nothing. So I just completed the fartlek (for someone who has such a hard time with staying on pace, you’d think I’d love fartleks… I don’t) and was happy to head back up the stairs to my apartment without complaints and having done the full run.

[side note: don’t you love it when the computer tries to mark “fartlek” as incorrectly spelled? And I used the word “fartlek” as often as I possibly could]

I then proceeded to replace my orthotic shoe inserts, which thankfully were ready for pick-up Monday. I guess I could have realized sooner that while my shoes weren’t too high in mileage (300 on each), the inserts most definitely were! That was probably my problem. After the new inserts, things just kept feeling better. The rest of the week went smoothly with my only worries being the standard concern of having the time to get the runs in around my schedule.

Everything is looking good this week around, so I won’t waste too many words. I do want to note that my sleep has been pretty messed up since Wednesday. It could just be stress from an upcoming presentation I need to prepare, but I’m going to keep an eye on it, since, as is said, sleep troubles are a sign of over-training.

But yes, good news mostly and hope to come back here same time next week with similar news. It’s supposed to snow more next week. Since I got 4 of 5 runs outdoors this week, I hope I can continue the trend of outdoor running. There’s also my first hill-workout of the cycle on tap for Monday and another 41 miles planned. I’ll be back to report!

Happy running and resting,
Dorothea

Training Week Four update

when you’ve got eight significantly more important things to do, and all you want to do is write about running…

Yep. It’s marathon season, and I’m already in the vortex of planning my day around running, etc. At least the training plan provides some stability, eh? And I do have to say that going for months on a “whatever works” plan has made me a little more relaxed about the training. I do still want to follow the plan and meet the paces, but I also no longer think training should be my top priority and if I end up having an off-day or getting injured, I do believe I can just accept it and move on with my life.

That being said, old habits die hard and I’m going to have to have a more solid plan for when I start to feel a potential injury, because I will probably try to run through it. Yesterday before and after the 10k time trial (strangely, not during), my left foot started doing some weird plantar issue stuff, but it’s not something I’ve felt before. I’m hoping it’s just a fluke from switching up my shoe inserts and that my fartlek run tomorrow goes as planned. However, if I feel pain tomorrow during the run, I have to tell myself to hop on the next underground home! I’ll then take off through Wednesday, and see what the foot feels like.

In the meantime, I want to reflect on the last week.

graph

The week started off really well at 6 AM on Monday cranking out 6 x 800s. I had a 12 hour day at the uni planned, so if I didn’t run in the morning, it wasn’t going to happen. Sunday night at 11 PM, I had no idea if I could actually get up in time, but coming off a mostly restful weekend, I was animated to get out the door and felt proud of myself for averaging about 3:10 with 400m recoveries before 8 AM. I liked the feeling, but I don’t know if I like it enough to repeat it unless absolutely necessary.

Tuesday was a similar schedule, but an hour later (so 7 instead of 6), and I did my 8 miles easy. These felt good and may have been too fast, but I told myself it would be fine. I should try harder to go easier when the plan tells me to be slow. This is a goal for the coming week.

Wednesday was a 3 mile tempo run, and while I woke up thinking there was no way in heck I could pull off 3 miles in 23 minutes, my body surprised me. It was also delightfully “warm” (10 degrees Celsius), so I enjoyed running without gloves and a hat again.

Thursday and Friday were uneventful, just following the plan, and Saturday was “race day”.

Really, it was just a time-trial, since I don’t have the time or money to race right now, but I promised myself doing it at the gym on a treadmill was just as good. To compensate for the lack of outdoor factors, I put the treadmill at 1.0 for every alternating mile. Of course I had my drinks and a fan, and didn’t have to worry about the elements, but I don’t think it ended up being as much as an advantage as I was telling myself on the way to the gym. In the end, I think I could have done better outside.

I was so convinced that this was going to be an easy 10k. I even thought I could break 44 minutes and I was so smug with myself about being able to pick my own time to run and not rely on a starting gun and doing things at my own pace…

Turns out, I kind of crashed and burned. I ended up running 6.24 miles in 46:31. 3.24 miles were at 1.0 incline and the other miles were at 0.0 incline. I took 8 or 9 (I forget) walking breaks and just generally, … just ew. If it weren’t for my 10k run New Year’s Eve, I would despair right now.

On top of that, my the bottom of my foot started hurting during the warm-up. The pain went away as the speed increased, but then I had to pause at the first mile of the trial to stretch the foot out. During the rest of the trial, the foot felt fine. I struggled in everything else, but the foot felt fine. Then, during the cool-down, near the last quarter mile, my foot really started to hurt. I stopped and did my stretching and foam rolling. I noticed my calves and fascia were extremely tight, but I’ve had PF before, and this felt different. Oh geez. When I got home, I rolled my foot a few time over the massage ball. I don’t know if that helped or hurt, since the foot continued to feel sore, though decreasingly so, throughout the evening. This morning, I can’t even be sure if my foot ever hurt. I’m just going to take it easy today on walking and stretch the foot out again and bit and see what happens tomorrow. Again, if I feel pain, I am committed now to the plan as above!

Putting the time-trial into perspective, I guess I did fine; I’d had a tough week mentally and physically. Three long days at the Uni, some intense speed sessions, not averaging enough of sleep, and then, yeah, my period coming early should have all been considered before the 10k to expect less results than I got. I also didn’t make the smartest choices about recovery, which is another thing I’m going to work on for this week.

I can take this time-trial as a test not just of my fitness, but my training altogether. Fitness wise I know, based off the intervals Monday and my slowly dropping resting heart rate, that I’m where I want to be. But training-wise, there is so much room for improvement. I need to work on keeping my easy runs easy, fixing my daily schedule to ensure I get at least 7 hours of sleep (8 hours is, of course, the goal), and not drink Friday nights or within 24 hours of a hard workout. [Truth time: being on “whatever works” was kind of nice, because I didn’t have to stress about the alcohol I drink. Now that I’ve seen first hand that I’m struggling with the speed, I think I’m going to have to commit to giving up drinking sooner rather than later. Sigh.]

On top of aaaall of that, I seriously need to start working on pacing. My paces, even on a treadmill (smh), are all over the place. The Runner’s World plan has some steady-state runs in it and I need to use these and my long runs to figure out how to set a pace and keep it. My 10k reminded me of my biggest flaw during my BQ marathon. I’m still doing this weird thing where I start off conservatively, because that’s what everyone warns about, but then I’m so anxious to make up the difference about midway through, and I feel so good, that I just spurt ahead. Not the greatest technique, since I end up burning out before the last mile(s) and starting off slow doesn’t do anything for me in the end anyway. So, yeah. Add this to the things I want to improve on this training cycle.

Well, yep, that’s an update! Hope your training or off-season is going well. :-)

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 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.

 

More struggles, but also some silver linings

I realize that whining is not a great character trait, and that it’s also not much fun to read or respond to… since one ‘d be called insensitive for telling the whiner to shut-up and deal with it, and the obligatory “hang in there, keep the chin up” is annoying to write and doesn’t really mean much to the whiner, either.

So you don’t have to write those comments and I won’t whine. I just want to write another post about the harder parts of training to accompany all the posts where training is going well, because once marathon time comes around, I know this period will provide me with more mental strength than anything else.

This past week was another week of trying to keep the training up-diligently. Training for any race requires determination and diligence. The consistency, after all, is what makes us better- not the individual efforts. Still, there’s a difference training for the event with the sports one chooses above all others versus with the sports one does to replace that one sport.

I’ve chosen to use spinning and bicycling to replace running, since my bike and a spinner at the gym are the two most accessible tools for me at the moment. It helps that bike can get me all around the city and country side, and I can train with destinations to help the time on the seat go by faster. Still, it nags at the back of my mind that I’m not working on my endurance on my feet. A four and a half hour ride on the bike means I can carry myself pretty well on an iron horse, but I have no idea how my feet will hold up 20+ miles.

However, it helps that the hardest part of marathon training is getting the aerobic fitness up. Sprinters are able to transition to longer distances, as far as muscles go, in a few weeks. It’s the ability to get the air pumping long and fast enough that takes more time. So, I keep that in mind as well, and that gets me to push myself harder on the bike, even when I feel it’s pointless.

I’ll admit, I may be pushing myself too hard. I read recently that one shouldn’t try to get one’s heart rate into the max zone too long, too often. With several interval, hill sessions in a row, I noticed myself struggling on a fartlek ride on Thursday, and took it easier on Friday again. I’m tallying up 150+ miles for the week, which is fun for me to see. Unfortunately, the perfectionist in me won’t consider that a solid week of training, but changing my mentality is something I’m working on, even while writing this.

I’ve been buddy-taping toe, and it’s been easier to walk on. I can even walk on sand now, which was nearly impossible because of the pain a week ago, and short spurts, across the street when the light is about to turn red, cause no pain at all, which is a good sign. However, it’s only been three weeks and once the tape comes off, the toe is aching, so I’ll wait a bit longer. I’m in the tricky part of an injury where the pain is bearable and one wants to test one’s limits. I just don’t want to test and regress in the healing. I’m too close to the marathon for that.

One thing for sure, this too will pass, and I’ll be able to enjoy the thrill of running again, soon. I’ve taken off too much time (four weeks on Tuesday) to jump right back in, but I’ll balance running and cross training for a week or so before replacing bike/spinner workouts with the runs again. I hope to be able to taper according to plan. But this injury has also trained my patience muscle a bit more, so I’m willing to see what happens.

I recently switched gyms and started TRX training, which offers a new set of challenges, and I like to think I’m strengthening my body- making it stronger for the marathon than following my training plan would have done.

So, as one can see, I have enough to write about, even if I’m not currently running. I’m also doing what I can to keep the München Marathon a reality. No one can say I’ve given up, and I’ll just have to keep that in mind over these last days/maybe week(s) as the injury finishes healing.

I also have to stop being marathon training obsessed! But as anyone who trains knows, it’s pretty life consuming. Still, I’ve been having interesting times outside of that, so I will probably post something there again soon. I need all the distractions I can get!

Happy Sunday,

Dorothea

How to… aw, forget it.

I admit, when I started this post, I was struggling. Maybe it’s because keeping up a marathon-cross-training regimen is difficult, or maybe because it’s just impossible. How many marathoners PR after being injured? Are my goals unrealistic?

In another internet search (because google is my magic crystal ball), I found this article: “can’t run, can still train”. It made me feel a lot more positive. It also serves as a good slider for my recount of a workout I did today, to make up for the 8 x 800s I missed.

You can call me crazy, but I really love interval workouts. I love the anticipation as I head to the track, prepare my water bottle, and limber up. The warm-up laps and the dynamic stretches are like foreplay, and walking up to the starting line for the first interval always gets a spike of adrenaline going. Of course, the first interval is always easy, not quite max effort, but good time. Then, the challenge is to get through the recovery well enough to start the next one strong. I love to challenge myself to go faster each time, to see the miles add up without the same monotony of an easy or long run. I love the final interval where I know I don’t have any left, and I can give it everything I’ve got. Unfortunately, this is the third week I’ve missed my intervals.

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but here’s what: I wrote some job applications and went to the gym. There, I changed into my workout clothes, saw I didn’t have my headphone (damnit!) and got on the elliptical machine. I did 1,6 km (that’s a mile) at moderate to high intensity to warm-up, and then I went to the spinning room- thankfully empty.

No one had used this spinner since the last time I was there, so I didn’t even need to adjust it. I opened my clock app and opened the stop-watch, started it,  and spun easily for 90 sec.s. Then, I upped the intensity and went as fast as I could go… After about 1 minute, I upped the resistance, got out of the seat, and then also went as fast as I could go. I upped a little more and, got into sprint position and, you guessed it, went as fast as I could go. After 3.5 minutes of this fast stuff (and feeling my heart rate rise), I dropped the resistance and spun easily again. 90 seconds later, it was round two. I did this for 10 rounds and at the end of the tenth one, Skrillex “Bangarang” (seriously, that song makes me GO) came on my iPod that I was using as a mini stereo, so I did another 55 seconds to finish out the song.  I got of the spinner, stretched out a bit, and then went back to the elliptical for a 1,6 km cool-down. My heart rate maxed out at 167, so I think I worked decently hard enough while spinning. The elliptical doesn’t replace running at all- but nothing really does. Feeling self-pity, I hopped on the treadmill for a bit… I made it 300 meters before deciding: no, not ready.

So, I don’t have my aqua belt on me, I don’t have an ellipti-go, and I sure as hell don’t have an alter-g treadmill. I couldn’t even afford the cheapest treadmill on the market. The one thing I do have, though, is a gym I can go to and they have elliptical machines and spinners. I can use both of these to try and get my game on. Next time, I’m bringing my heart rate monitor, so that I can make sure my HR goes above 160 for 67% of the workout.

The remaining challenge left to conquer is that cross-training usually has to be done for more time than the running would have been. Considering that marathon training is already an incredibly time-intensive activity, trying to replicate the training with cross-training activities is almost impossible. For example, Tuesday was long run day- 20 miles. My plan called for accomplishing that in 3 hours. If I follow the advice of 1.5 times the running time, I would have had to workout for 4.5 hours. Um… that’s not really an option- but maybe, if I’m not running-ready in time for my next 20 miler in two weeks, maybe I can make it an option. That’s dedication for you, I guess.

I could have titled this post “how to get through marathon training without running.” However, since I’m still trying to figure that out myself, I’ll just leave it at: I’m trying.