Running Log: October 16-22, in which I run a race

This was a good week as far as running goes.

Remember how I mentioned that the races I signed up for got cancelled? Well, only one of them did. The other race was re-imagined by the Berliner running club who were putting it on and I decided to do it, despite it not being at all what I had signed up for. Rather than setting up the course in the forest as they originally were going to, they set up on a track. A dirt track. And rather than having hills and roots to watch out for, they set up mini-hurdles.

I considered the boredom of running in a loop, as well as the small participation, a challenge. There were about 35 people doing the 30-minute and the 60-minute together, but only 12 of us were doing the full hour. But they did have music and the timer on the track meant I’d get to know how fast I was running each lap.

It was an hour long race, the first of its kind I’ve ever done. I’ve had my own hour-long attempts- trying to see how much I can get done in the hour I had allotted, for example, but never a race where the time was measured and it was up to me to see how much I could get done in that time.

Turns out, it’s a tad above 13 kilometers: 97 meters more. This comes out to a 7:21 mpm average pace. At least, that’s my ability with my current fitness.

I went in with a goal of 8 miles, which is a 7:30 pace and I felt it was doable, since I’ve been running pretty consistently at 8:15 to 8:30 as an easy pace and the 800s in 3:20, so 7:30 was modest. This meant I was actually hoping (and going for) over 8 miles.

I managed to be a newbie and start off too fast: 1:36 for the first lap. But I settled down a bit and got 3:22 for the first 800 and 22:15 for the first 5k. But I also made the mistake of paying attention to the pace my GPS watch was showing and not the actual time, and of course the pace was based on distance and my GPS overcalculated distance (as it is wont to do on a track), so I thought I was going 7 minute pace the whole time, when really it was the 7:20 I ended up with.

When I first saw my splits (seeing each 0.25 mile is a novelty!) I was proud of the consistency with which I ran. Other than the first lap where I went too fast and the 17th lap where I took a fueling break, I was really consistent. But maybe it just looks that way since I did laps and not miles. Calculating the 5 second spread in miles, it’s a 20 second difference in pace, so perhaps my paces were a bit more spread out than I think now. I’ll find out on Monday. (edited to add: according to my TomTom, my paces per mile were  6:51, 6:55, 6:56, 6:57, 7:20, 7:02, 7:05, and 7:02- so, consistent enough!)

My longest lap was lap 17 where I took a fueling break to down some water and eat a third of a banana. It was 30 seconds off my average, and in retrospect, not having it would have allowed me to be first woman- but did the fuel help? Probably. I won’t blame it on that.

Which brings me to the fact that I also could have gotten 1st woman if I had a stronger mental game. Around lap 28, a girl came up from behind me, and while I was sure there was only one other guy in front of me, I couldn’t figure out the logic of racing on a track (despite having done 5 years of track and cross country but hey, it’s been a while!) and thought the girl had lapped me (I call her a girl, she is a 23-year old woman). I still tried to stick with her, for sports sake, but as she pulled away, I figured she had 0.25+ on me anyway, so catching up wouldn’t mean much. After the race, however, I realized she was on the same lap as me and only finished about 100 meters in front of me. Darn! Add in the doubt about the 30 seconds of fueling and I manage to sour what was otherwise a positive racing experience; kudos to the SC Tegeler-Forst running team for organizing a great event!

But that’s peanuts. I finished healthy (I think- going to evaluate after post-run fatigue is gone tomorrow) and had a good time. I also have an hour-race PR, so there’s that.

As for the week, one can see I took it easier. Part of that was to prep for the race, but I was also  sticking to what I wrote last week! I did want to take it easy. Got a bit of biking in too, so my activity points for the week are earned. Now, as for personal, academics? If only they were so easy as running in circles, sometimes.

 

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Running Log: August 28th through October 1st

I guess I can post a September update and call myself accomplished in keeping up with the blog.

In my defense, this past month I dealt with hurricane evacuation, food poisoning, traveling internationally and starting my position as Phd scholarship candidate (these things account for the longer gaps in my log)… I’m going to cut myself slack even if you won’t. ;-)

updated log

There’s not a lot to comment on from this last update, since I really followed the “whatever works” plan pretty religiously. One can see since getting back to Berlin that running is working a little better. I guess it’s also worth noting that I’ve steadily built up to double-digit runs. Soon I may even look into a race again.

My 800 intervals, one of the ways I keep track of my fitness, are 3:20 on average, so I am pretty pleased with how I’m staying in shape even if it’s not marathon shape. I hope to continue having a more consistent pattern of running soon, so that I can get more easy running in and build up my base again.

And… yep. That’s all I have to say this time around.

Hope September was a great month of running for all of you! Looking forward to seeing all the fall race recaps.

Berlin Marathon 2017: Reporting live from the Berlin Studio (apartment)

Just got back from my run in time to watch the last hour of the BMW Berlin Marathon as Kipchoge, Berkeley, and Kipsang (as the advertised world record strivers) fight for first place and hopefully the world record on this dreary Berliner day.

Opting for a more comfortable spectator position than last year (in my defense, I’ve also got wicked jetlag), I’m taking advantage of Berlin’s major TV station, RBB where the whole race is reported live. These are my thoughts while watching (disclaimer: I’m not a sports reporter, nor get paid to be one on TV 😉):

  • Right now (1:08), they’re talking about Anna Hahner, one of Germany’s top marathon runners and also the hopeful for the top German result. She is about 20 meters away from the top women. (Spoiler alert: she only gets mentioned two more times and finishes alright)
  • Kind of interesting this year are the thousands of election campaign posters lining the course and constantly caught by the camera
  • Berkeley is off course (1:10:48) for the record. He could still make it up but eh…
  • Guye Adola missed his water bottle at km 25…he’s a debut runner doing pretty well. Go underdog! No one shared his bottle with him, though. Competition is tough
  • My bet is on Kipchoge, because he has that sub 2-Hour attempt to draw meantal strength from
  • I think I’m glad I’m not volunteering today. The weather is kind of miserable
  • I also hope no one forgot their glide… chafing=ew
  • 1:24:29 Kimputo is kind of bouncing around in the back, my bet is he’s next to fall off the pace
  • The water (light rain and sweat) is flying off their feet
  • Pacer 60 Kimpare is doing a great job
  • Oh! They’re at km aid station 30, and before I could finish writing about how I was there last year and didn’t even realize I could end up in the footage…
  • WHAT Kipsang is out?! WHAT!?
  • Now it’s just Kipchoge and Adola! I guess I may win my bet after all
  • Kimpare is gone now too
  • It’s not long now
  • The bicycle leaders are are having a hard time not working as pacers for the two
  • Marathon running televised is a bit like watching sloths play soccer.
  • 1:43:11 Adola still there, slightly irritating Kipchoge it looks like. Hang on for 7 more km, Adola! Wouldn’t it be wild if he won?
  • And how lucky is Kipchoge, after the other two fell off, to have this competition? Someone who keeps him on pace?
  • Bekele is now also completely out. :-(
  • Kipchoge is running the blue line (the adidas three stripes to be seen throughout the city weeks after the race) Adola is running long curves. What is going on? Is a Adola letting Kipchoge keep his own pace?
  • 1:50:40 Okay, yeah, it’s getting a little more interesting  now
  • 4 more km
  • Less than 10 more minutes
  • 1:54:55 Kipchoge looks like he’s losing a bit of form :/
  • What the heck, Adola looks like a running god. He can have the win. I’m a fan
  • Okay Kipchoge, you still got this after all. He closed the gap
  • Adola doesn’t take any fuel? What? He may also have surged too early
  • Max 5 more minutes. I’m actually on the end of my seat. I take back my sloth comment
  • C’mon Adola! Hang on!
  • Kipchoge is claiming the last km for himself
  • Okay, experience wins. Aber Adola, aller Respeckt!
  • Damn. Kipchoge, look at that smile. 1km left and he knows he has this
  • Stride, smile, finish.
  • KIPCHOGE IS THE WINNER!
  • 2:03:34
  • AND ADOLA, fastest debut in history, 2:03:47 :-)
  • First woman, Gladys Cherono, doing a really nice job, on her own these last km.
  • Wish I had that kind of stride
  • Wins in 2:20:21 (and still gets a 15,000€ time bonus). Wooh!

In summary: what a race. Had I bet, I’d have won. Still proven: there are some fast runners out there. Athletes have a tough fight; it takes a lot to know when to step out of a race. Love the Berlin Marathon and hope to maybe run it one day!

Now, I return to my regularly scheduled Sunday. Hope you also have a nice day! -Dorothea

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!

 

2:00:24 Thoughts 

In no particular order: 

  • Woah. I know this didn’t break the 2 hour wall, but hot damn, that’s fast. 4:36 pace for 26.2? It’s almost unbelievable. 
  • Eluid Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa, and Zersensay Tadese deserve some time off. Way to go for even attempting the feat. 
  • Congratulations to Kipchoge for making it sooooo close. I think he beat a lot of predictions by the naysayers. Given this result, I’m sure the world record will officially fall in the next year, too. It does remove a mental block. 
  • The temperature seemed right, but I was surprised at the high humidity. 74% is a decent amount, even if the dew point was still okay. I wonder if less humidity would have made a difference
  • I have respect for all the pacers… they were a valuable contribution to this effort and don’t share any of the limelight
  • How many people outside the running community care that this attempt even happened?
  • How many people followed it live? I didn’t… I was still sleeping when they started, and had places to go and no time to turn on the computer 
  • I wonder if crowd support would have helped? Or just made them more nervous?
  • I wonder how much was the shoes.
  • It’s inspiring, but the blistering speed all but inspires me to go out for a long run. Maybe a few hundred meters.

Happy weekend of running and all else. 

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 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.