Update on training, week 8 (Feb 19-25)

^ this right here is why I could never be the layout person for a magazine. I just can’t make up my mind about how I want to format my posts. But you get the general idea: update on training, another week, and in case you’re confused about which week, I spell it out.

But this week is special! It marks the official halfway point to marathon training, and you know you’re seriously “in it” when you start using any opportunity to bring the topic of marathon into conversation with anyone you meet, even strangers. Week eight, woo hoo!

Officially a “fall-back” week in the training, I think it went pretty well. I didn’t have any long runs and the bulk was easy running. I did, however, have a pretty intense 10 mile time trial that I can’t wait to tell you about.

But first:

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gasp! Only one rest day?! And a run after an almost race? What?

What? is right. I also have no clue how the runs next week will look like and how I will feel. This week actually marks a diversion from the Runner’s World training plan that will go on through next week, since I have to adjust for a short trip I’m taking next weekend. And my SquadRunner team will know that I adjusted the second half of this week for the mission points. :-) I did get an extra 190 points from the adjustment, and I think I did it intelligently enough? Basically, the plan called for 5 tempo miles on Wednesday, a rest on Thursday, and 3 easy on Friday. Instead, I did 1 easy mile and 1 tempo km (to see just how fast I can run) on Wednesday, and 8 miles on Thursday with a 24 min. 5k thrown in. Then Friday was a rest day. There will be a time when I don’t need a mid-week break. This week is not that week. I wanted to have some chance to recover before Saturday, and honestly I just really like having one day of work each week where I can just go to work in a relaxed way without having to worry about getting the run in first.

And then Saturday…

but wait. Actually, I want to preface this by saying that I have a weird soreness deep in my gluteus maximus that Dr. Google diagnosed as piriformus syndrome. Sound familiar to any of you? This is the same hamstring thing I mentioned two weeks ago, but now I’m not sure it’s my hamstring. I really felt it during the 200 meter intervals on Monday (which were a lot of fun! It’s nice to just kick it out really fast once in a while), and then more so yesterday during the 10 miles. The weird thing is, it doesn’t really hurt. It just feels tight and I feel like I can’t get my full range of motion. I guess it’s good it doesn’t hurt yet, but I also want to figure out what it is and treat it before it gets any worse. In the meantime, apparently what I may have can come from sitting too much, and while I don’t think that’s my problem (if anything, I can’t sit for a single moment gosh-darnit Dorothea sit down and stop wiggling!), I’m going to be a little more proactive about it and see if I can figure out some of these weird yoga moves Dr. Google is recommending to prevent this thing from becoming a major pain in the you-know-what. Oh, and of course I’m calling my doctor tomorrow to schedule an appointment for ASAP. I’ll ask her about the weird foot bump then, too. (edited to add: I really did make an appointment and will find out on Wednesday what the deal is).

Okay, now about Saturday. I don’t know. It’s not that I went to an actual race and it doesn’t count as an official PR, but since it is my first consciously timed 10 miler and I met my goal within 5 seconds, I’m calling the PR. I was aiming for a sub 75 minutes, and I think that if I had been officially racing and known my times while running (I only ever knew my approximate pace), I could have done it. And even if I didn’t, I’m pleased with the way I motivated myself to keep pushing through the last miles and execute a run on my own this way. I can use this as a mental boost for the half-marathon in two weeks and while I didn’t feel amazing, I got it done and met my own expectations. Plus, it was an outdoor run and the sun was shining, which was actually also true of today’s run as well, so today I went out for a bonus 5k that turned into a little more because it was just so gosh-darned gorgeous (did you notice my southern roots, yet?). The mission points also had something to do with the unusual Sunday run. I’ll see how I feel tomorrow and then determine whether that was a good idea. I may take the rest day tomorrow, instead.

Other than the butt issue and continued niggles here and there, mostly in the feet, a few in the knee–all that I’m prodigiously fighting against with stretching, foam rolling and avoiding every single crack in the side-walk–running is going very well.

Next week is another week of an absent long run. I can’t decide if that’s a no-go in marathon training, but I also figure if Hanson’s plan runners get away with a lot of mid-distance runs, then so can I! I’m planning on doing  regular amount of running (6-10 miles) that will tire me a little out, but not injure me. On March 5th it’s back to the regularly scheduled programming.

Hope you had a good week! Happy running,
Dorothea

 

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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.

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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

 

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.

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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