April 3 – 12 Training

This includes weeks 2 and 3, the final week, of taper. The last week is a partial week because my final run (before a shakeout on Sunday) was April 12. I will run the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 17.

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FINAL RUN. I cannot tell you how joy-filled this was.

All in, I ran 906 miles over the past 17.5 weeks. I’m pleased with how the entire cycle went. As with any training, it had ups and downs. One of the biggest challenges was training through a brutal North Dakota winter. We were pummeled with multiple feet of snow through several winter storms and dangerously cold temperatures. My personal limit for outdoor running is an air temp (without wind chill) of -5. 

Most of my quality runs (track work, tempo, race pace) were done on my treadmill, alone, in my dark basement. Beyond the physical challenges, the mental challenge of regular longish runs (up to 12 miles) took its toll.

I did manage to hit every single mile prescribed in the plan. I’m pretty proud of that. 

Through the weeks, I developed one pretty bad cold and dealt with one serious niggle. Luckily, I was able to train through both with slight pace adjustments. Note: this is only recommended if your body can handle it. If you are seriously sick or injured, please don’t run through it. Stop and seek appropriate medical treatment.

The thing that took me by surprise this taper was my hunger. It was/is out of control. I eat just over 2,000 calories a day, which is normally more than satisfying. Through the taper, I usually ate almost all of those calories by 11 a.m. I did go over a few days when I thought it was necessary. I don’t remember experiencing hunger like this before through any other tapering period. Luckily, my weight is stable and I’m at my perfect, comfortable race weight.

Taper Week 2
Monday, 4/3
•8 easy, 8:53 pace

Tuesday, 4/4
•6 easy in the morning, 8:47 pace
•5 easy after work, 8:32 pace
•11 miles total

Wednesday, 4/5
•Rest day

Thursday, 4/6
•9.5 easy in the morning, 8:37 pace
•3.5 easy after work, 8:41 pace
•13 miles total

Friday, 4/7
•7 with race pace strides, 8:05 pace

Saturday, 4/8
•8 easy, 8:28 pace

Sunday, 4/9
•8 easy, 8:30 pace with some race pace blocks

Total miles: 55

Taper Week 3
Monday, 4/10
•6 easy, 8:27 pace

Tuesday, 4/11
•6 easy, 8:31 pace

Wednesday, 4/12
•6 easy, 8:13

Thursday – Saturday
•Rest, rest, rest

Sunday, 4/16
•2 mile shakeout run, very slow

Total miles: 20

I’ve found I like a non-traditional taper, usually running high volume until the final week. This calms my nerves. One change I did make was running the prescribed miles during week 2 of taper (55), but taking out all advised speedwork. In lieu of that, I threw in some race pace strides. This kept me mentally happy.

Another survival technique was running almost all of these final miles with friends. It’s a great chance to catch up and get outside of your head.

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The last week is where I really taper hard – minimal, easy miles. In the few days leading up to a marathon, I become really aware of how much I’m moving and try to limit that as well. I’m normally a pretty active person (20,000+ steps a day) so it can be hard for me to sit more and move less, especially when dealing with pre-race nerves.

I fly out to Boston tomorrow. I know most people are already there or arriving long before late Saturday, but I want to minimize my time in Boston before the race. Pre-race nerves will likely hit me hard once I’m there, so I’d rather have only one day to explore the expo, then run.

I’m so anxious to take in this monumental marathon. It really will be a dream come true.

February 13 – 26 Training

And just like that, I’m 2/3 through training. Today marks seven weeks until Boston. This is the time in training when fatigue sets in. Mind, body, and soul need a little extra rest and TLC.

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Who doesn’t jump for joy after a successful 16-miler?

Training is going so well. I’m hitting my paces, too fast most times, and I’ve been strength training regularly.

I faced a niggle this past week. On Thursday, I had a killer “race pace” run and went out way too fast. After, I saw my right peroneal tendon was inflamed and slightly bruised. I had a massage that morning and went into full-blown danger mode: rolling, The Stick, voodoo floss, compression, and the whole nine yards.

I was able to complete all runs at prescribed paces and the inflammation is going down. Crisis averted!

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I hear my hammies creaking and see Black Lab hair on the floor. Real life.

Week 10, February 13-19
Monday, 2/13

•Impromptu rest day – just traveled back from Florida and my body was fighting the early stages of a cold

Tuesday, 2/14
•3×1600, 6:31 pace
•7 miles total
•Lifted full body, 5 minute planks

 Wednesday, 2/15
•Easy 6 miles, 8:43 pace

Thursday, Feb. 16
•Easy 10 miles, which I inadvertently turned into a progression run!
•8:36, 8:18, 8:18, 8:09, 8:11, 8:05, 7:57, 7:52, 7:38, 7:04
•8:00 average pace overall

 Friday, 2/17
•Easy 6 miles, 8:43 pace

Saturday, 2/18
•12 miles, 8:19 pace
•575 feet gain
•Full body lift, 5 minute planks

 Sunday, 2/19
•8 miles at GMP, 7:36 pace
•9 miles total

Weekly totals
•50 miles
•2 strength sessions

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Thank Jesus for training partners who go out in crazy cold.

Week 11, February 20-26
Monday, Feb. 20
•Easy 8 miles, 8:58 pace

Tuesday, Feb. 21
•5 tempo miles, 7:17, 7:11, 7:11, 7:08, 7:01
•10 miles total

Wednesday, Feb. 22
•Rest day

Thursday, Feb. 23
•8 tempo miles, 7:22 pace
•11 miles total

Friday, Feb. 24
•Easy 8 miles, 8:56 pace

Saturday, Feb. 25
•16 miles, 7:58 pace
•675 feet gain
•Push-ups, squats

Sunday, 2/26
•Easy 8 miles, 8:37 pace
•Full body lift, 5 minute planks

Weekly totals
•61 miles
•2 strength sessions

Overall, I feel great and am happy to be so far into training. The nerves are starting to kick in a bit already. When I get nervous, I go out too fast. Thursdays are supposed to be goal race pace days, and I’ve been turning them into tempos.

This week, I will focus on keeping my paces honest and slowing down a bit. Off to Week 12!

December 26 – January 15 Training

Whoa, baby. I can’t believe I’m on week 6 of marathon training. This is a snapshot of my life the past three weeks.

I’m beginning to hit my stride in training, meaning I’m used to the schedule. My body and mind know I run six days a week with one rest day.

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Just chugging along, enjoying the -10 degree real feel.

Strength training is still a struggle, though probably more mentally than physically. I haven’t picked up a barbell in two weeks, partially from running fatigue. The arctic North Dakota air hasn’t helped. I lift in my garage and the thought of being in a cold space after logging miles in sub-zero temps is not appealing.

My main lifting goal while training is to come out with little to no regression. I lift heavy and frequently during off-season.

My fall back bodyweight movements are push-ups, tricep dips, planks, squats, pistols, single-leg deadlifts, yoga, and PiYo (the Beachbody program).

Week 3 of Training
Monday, 12/26

· 6 miles easy, 9:05 pace

Tuesday, 12/27
· 6 x 800 at 9.2 mph (6:31 pace), 3 easy, 9 total
· leg strength work – bodyweight

Wednesday, 12/28
· Rest

Thursday, 12/29
· 6 miles at GMP, 7:40 pace, 3 easy, 9 miles total

Friday, 12/30
· 6.75 miles easy, 8:14 pace

Saturday, 12/31
· 10.25 miles easy, 8:29 pace
· PiYo upper and lower

Sunday, 1/1
· 6 miles easy, 9:07 pace

Weekly Totals
47 miles
2 strength sessions

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Early morning treadmill party at Gold’s. Yes, we party hard.

Week 4
Monday, 1/2

· 6 miles easy, 9:05 pace

Tuesday, 1/3
· 6 x 800 at 9.2 mph (6:31 pace), 3 easy, 9 total

Wednesday, 1/4
· Rest
· Total body strength – bodyweight

Thursday, 1/5
· 6 miles at GMP, 7:48 pace, 3 easy, 9 total

Friday, 1/6
· 6 miles easy, 9:33 pace

Saturday, 1/7
· 8 miles easy, 8:49 pace
· PiYo sculpt, core work

Sunday, 1/8
· 8 miles easy, 8:32 pace
· PiYo lower, yoga

Weekly Totals
46 miles
3 strength sessions

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I hear these are good for your core. Not my favorite, but they seem effective.

Week 5
Monday, 1/9

· 6 miles easy, 8:33 pace
· Core work, yoga

Tuesday, 1/10
· 5 x 1k at 9.2 mph, 3 easy, 7 total
· 5 minutes of planks: 2 mins regular, 1 min sides, 1 min hollow hold

Wednesday, 1/11
· Rest
· Yoga

Thursday, 1/12
· 6 miles at GMP, 7:37 pace, 3 easy, 9 total

Friday, 1/13
· 6 miles easy, 9:00 pace

Saturday, 1/14
· 12 miles easy, 8:12 pace
· 5 minutes of planks, bodyweight strength: squats, push-ups, ab work, glute work

Sunday, 1/15
· 7 miles easy, 9:17 pace

Weekly Totals
47 miles
3 strength sessions

Whew! That gets me up-to-date. After this massive catch-up, I’ll be back to weekly logs.

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One of the few poses that doesn’t make me swear.

 

December 5 – 11 Training

This week, North Dakota was hit with another blizzard and extremely cold arctic air. We’re talking a lot of sub-zero temps and strong wind.

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Winter Wonderland. Pretty to look at; hard to run in.

Since I’m not acclimated to the cold yet, I opted inside for most of my runs. I hate the treadmill but it gets the job done when it’s dangerously cold outside.

Monday
· 7 rounds, 4 each: hang power clean, push press, front lunges each side, back squat
· 25: Russian twists, straight leg lifts, bicycles
· 50: ab mat sit-ups

Tuesday
· 6 treadmill miles, 7:45 pace
· 10 rounds of 10 each: air squat, push-ups, straight leg raises, tricep dips

Wednesday
· 6 treadmill miles, 8:36 pace
·50: ab mat sit-ups

Thursday
· Rest

Friday
· 6 treadmill miles, 8:37 pace

Saturday
· 12 treadmill miles, 8:15 pace
· 3 x 12: squat, deadlift, reverse row, strict press, tricep dips, front lunges
· 50: straight leg lifts, ab mat sit-ups
· 50: lying side leg raises (hip and glute target)

Sunday
· 5.5 outside miles, 8:30 pace. Ice and ankle-deep snow for 2 miles, but felt great to get    outside.

Weekly totals
35.5 miles
3 strength sessions

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From my Sunday run, my first outside in a week! It felt amazing.

Overall, it was a solid week of training. The transition into winter is always hard, but it seemed even harder this year. We had a long, mild fall and winter just hit this year. Two blizzards in and we already have more than 30 inches of snow.

This was my last off-season week before Boston training begins. Training through a harsh North Dakota winter makes me nervous, but I’m excited to have the set structure of training.

October 31 – November 6 Training

Monday
•Rest

Tuesday
•Track work day! 8X200, 4X400, 2X800, 6 miles total at 7:04/mile overall. I scored my fastest mile (5:39) and fastest 5k (19:42).
•Strenth: 3 X 12: back squat, deadlift, strict press, row, banded pull-ups, bench, tricep dips •10 minutes core work

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Wednesday
•Rest

Thursday
8 miles, 8:21 pace

Friday
Rest

Saturday
Long and hill run – 13 miles, 8:13 pace

Sunday
•4 miles, 9:03 pace, with a friend
•50-minute Runner’s World Iron Strength circuit
•6 miles solo, 7:46 pace
•I also lifted and tested my one rep maxes: 110# back squat, 55# bench, 155# deadlift

Weekly totals
37 miles
3 strength sessions

Overall, I had a solid week. I am in off-season right now and trying to find a balance between maintaining my fitness, but also taking a much-needed physical and mental break before I begin training for Boston next month.

The weather in North Dakota has been very warm, atypical for this time of year, so I couldn’t resist putting on a few more miles than planned. Any time I get to run outside in November in shorts and a t-shirt is a special occasion!

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A new experience this week was experimenting with Generation UCAN. I’ve heard of this fuel and picked a few packets up to try. I used it Saturday morning before my 13-miler. Normally, I have breakfast before a long run, usually something carb-heavy like a bowl of oatmeal. Depending on my hunger level, I may also fuel on the run.

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Saturday, I rolled out of bed and had a cup of coffee to perk up. I mixed a packet of UCAN in the cinnamon delite flavor with 12 oz. of  water and drank that. It fueled my run perfectly!

I love this fuel for a few reasons:
1. No need to carry fuel or water on my runs.
2. No stomach upset.
3. NO SUGAR. Seriously, it’s starch-based, so no blood sugar spikes or bombs.

I’d highly recommend it.

My goals for the few upcoming weeks are:
1. Keep the miles moderate, maybe 25 to 30, but keep up some speedy runs to maintain fitness.
2. Lift, a lot. I have limited time before marathon training resumes, and I’d like to build strength as much as possible.
3. Focus on core work. I despise core work, but know it’s an area I need to improve.
4. Mentally chill out. Marathon training is demanding, so I know I need a mental break before I resume.