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.

March 20 – April 2 Training

These were two big weeks: peak week and taper week 1 of 3.

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When you don’t feel like running, throw on the magic colors.

Peak week was amazing: 63 miles of nailing miles and paces. My long run was a huge confidence builder before the taper. Everything went smoothly, except I only lifted once, which is actually pretty normal for me during peak week. From here on out, my lifting will be extremely limited, if at all.

The three weeks leading up to the marathon I like to tune into my body very closely. If I’m feeling sore and/or overly tired, I don’t lift. Not much is lost during these weeks strength-wise, but I could potentially damage my performance by overdoing it. If you’re like me, you don’t want to compromise 18 weeks of hard work!

Peak Week!
Monday, 3/20
•8 easy miles, 8:45 pace

Tuesday, 3/21
•7 easy, 8:49 pace
•Full-body lift

Wednesday, 3/22
•Rest day

Thursday, 3/23
•6 working, 7:30 pace
•all other miles 8:49 pace
•11 total

Friday, 3/24
•8 easy, 8:52 pace

Saturday, 3/25
•Long run day! Ran with a local, super fast group
•16 miles, 7:47 pace
•736 foot gain
•133 avg. HR (great indication that my fitness is where it should be!)

Sunday, 3/26
•13 easy, 8:12 pace

Totals
•63 miles
•1 strength session

My first taper week was typical taper. I’m hungry and physically and mentally wiped. I don’t feel like taking naps, but I have no motivation to do anything except go through the motions of my days, so I do just that.

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Taper feels. I’m hungry. I’m tired. I’m dying….

 

I’m working hard to release myself from the “shoulds” until after race day. You know….I “should” bake some healthy breakfast muffins. I “should” deep clean my shower. I “should” spring clean. NOPE – saving that until after.

Recovery is just as much mental as it is physical.

Since I was exhausted this week, I made the call to not lift. My legs and entire body are sore, which is such a strange feeling after not lifting. Hello, taper, my old friend.

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The fast group I ran with during the long runs made these little leggies RUN.

Taper Week 1
Monday, 3/27
•6 easy, 8:47 pace

Tuesday, 3/28
•10 easy, 8:21 pace

Wednesday, 3/29
•Rest day

Thursday, 3/30
•6 working, 7:08 pace
•5 “cool down,” 7:52 pace
•11 total

Friday, 3/31
•6 easy, 8:51 pace

Saturday, 4/1
•Long run day! Ran with the same local, super fast group
•15 miles, 7:48 pace
•224 foot gain, basically one steep hill and the rest flat

Sunday, 4/2
•8 easy, 8:52 pace

Totals
•56 miles

March miles
•253

With only 14 days to go, I made the call to scrap speed and run the rest of my miles easy until race day. On the days speed is prescribed, I will throw in race pace strides at the end of each mile.

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My favorite torture devices.

March 13-19 Training

Week 14 was an interesting one! I felt the beginning of a cold on Friday, March 10, which worsened over the weekend and was full-blown by the start of this week. It was so sick on Tuesday that I barely got out of bed. Luckily, I rested that day and was able to complete all of my mileage for the week.

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Spring in North Dakota – only one layer of thermals!

The good: I hit all my mileage (plus an extra 1.5 miles!).

The bad: My cold made it hard to breathe. My lungs felt like they were being compressed with a 500 pound brick. I also went out way too fast for both my strength and race pace runs. When I get nervous, I tend to run too fast.

Monday, 3/13
•5 easy miles, no idea on pace, slow

Tuesday, 3/14
•Impromptu rest day – sick with cold so stayed in bed most of the day

Wednesday, 3/15
•11 easy miles, 8:40 pace
•Full-body lift
•5 minutes of planks

Thursday, 3/16
•6 miles tempo, 7:06 pace
•8 miles total

Friday, 3/17
•9 easy miles, 8:30 pace

Saturday, 3/18
•9 “race pace” miles, went way too fast, 7:15 pace
•1 cool down mile, 10 miles total

Sunday, 3/19
•12 easy miles on schedule
•ran 13.5 miles, 8:15 pace, 664 ft. gain
•Full-body lift
•5 minutes of planks

Totals
•56.5 miles
•2 strength sessions

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Any day the sun comes out is a good day.

Overall, I’m pleased with the week. I wasn’t sure what my body would allow me to do since I was sick.

My focus going into this next week is to actually hit race pace (7:45). I need to calm my nerves and dial it in. Next week is peak week and I have 63 miles on the schedule.

I’m feeling excited, ready, and hungry for a PR. I cannot believe Boston is only 28 days away!

March 6 – 12 Training

Week 13 is done! I’m pleased to say it was a great week overall.

The good: I managed to hit all my miles and paces. Not too fast, which is my biggest struggle. I lifted twice, which I’m happy with. The further you get into training, the harder it is to fit this in. Also, it feels SO much heavier on fatigued legs, but it’s important to do it anyway.

The bad: The weather took a turn for the worse (winter storm, sub-zero temps), so my quality runs were on the treadmill. I also started getting sick at the end of the workday on Friday. This was made much worse by a long outdoor run on Saturday, and another outdoor run Sunday.

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Most of this week’s runs were this – COLD, windy, snowy, gloomy. Mother Nature doesn’t care how close Boston is. How selfish!

Monday, 3/6
8 easy miles, 8:47 pace
Real feel of -15 – yikes!
5 minutes of planks

Tuesday, 3/7
6 miles at strength pace, 7:36
11 miles total

Wednesday, 3/8
Rest

Thursday, 3/9
9 miles at GMP, 7:42 pace
12 miles total
This run felt amazing, even on the treadmill!
Full-body lift
5 minutes of planks

Friday, 3/10
7 easy miles, 8:38 pace
Another real feel of -15

Saturday, 3/11
16 miles, 8:11 pace

Sunday, 3/12
5.5 miles, 9:06, outside during a winter storm!
2.5 miles on the TM, no idea on pace, but slow
8 miles total
Full-body lift
5 minutes of planks

Totals
62 miles
2 strength sessions

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-15 degrees. Why are we smiling?

I am looking forward to warmer temperatures so I can get outside for my quality runs, namely my marathon goal pace runs. I am getting down to the final weeks, so I’d like my body to become really familiar with a 7:45 pace out on the roads.

This coming week, I’d like to work more short strength sessions in instead of two larger, more intense ones. From here on out, it’s all about maintaining strength up until the big day.

February 27 – March 5 Training

Week 12 was a great training week. It was a cutback week, only 5-6 miles, but was a welcomed mental break.

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Running past my house, probably in circles to get to an even number.

The good: nailed all my hard runs and the paces felt easy! Did some climbing on my long run and that also felt easy.

The bad: because of weather, I rearranged my schedule and put too many quality runs close together. My body is feeling the effects of that. Note to self: do not put quality workouts back-to-back. Bad, bad idea. I also didn’t finish my mileage from Tuesday, so I put 3.5 easy miles on Wednesday morning, my rest day. So, I didn’t have a rest day last week. Also a very bad idea. Even though they were short, easy miles, my body needed a day off.

One more thing I shouldn’t have done was allow myself to run my easy 10 on Thursday too fast. Even though an 8:13 pace is easy, I shouldn’t went slower to allow my body recovery time. I also ran my “race pace” day too fast. My goal marathon pace is roughly 7:45, but I ended up doing all nine miles at a 7:20. FAIL. Normally, I’d be excited, but this isn’t good because I need to dial into race pace.

When I get nervous, I tend to run too fast. I know it’s a ways out yet, but running the Boston Marathon has me both excited and freaked out at the same time.

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Love me some deadlifts. Don’t mind all the crap in my garage.

Monday, 2/27
•Easy 6 miles, 8:48 pace

Tuesday, 2/28
•Strength run day, 7.5 miles total
•6 at strength pace, 7:36

Wednesday, 3/1
•Easy 3.5, 9:04 pace

Thursday, 3/2
•Easy 10 miles, 8:13 pace

Friday, 3/3
•Easy 3, 9:14 pace

Saturday, 3/4
•Easy 14, 8:22 pace, 639 foot gain
•5 minutes of planks
•air squats and push-ups

Sunday, 3/5
•Race pace day, 11 miles total
•9 miles at GMP, 7:20 pace
•Full-body lift
•5 minutes of planks and additional core

Totals
•55 miles
•2 strength sessions

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My treadmill and I have a complicated relationship.

So, overall it was a successful week, but I made many mistakes this week, too. My goal for Week 13 is to dial in and stick to the plan – no switching days/mileage around, and not running any prescribed paces too fast.

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!

February 6 – 12 Training

Week 9 is now behind me. I can’t believe Boston is 8 weeks away.

I had great runs this week, but only managed one lifting session. Whomp. I was in Florida Friday to Monday, shaking up my routine. I did run 30 miles while in Florida, including a 15-mile long run.

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Heyyyy there, palm trees! From my 15-miler on Friday.

A big win this week was my Tuesday speed work. I had 800 repeats and managed to run them all at a 6:19 pace. This was a huge, much-needed confidence boost!

My struggle of the week was Sunday. My marathon hunger is getting real. I ate a lot and was still full when run time came around. I do not do well with food in my stomach when I run, but I gutted it out, no pun intended. It took everything in me to finish that one.

My miles are climbing higher and my body is taking it like a champ. Luckily, I like high miles so mentally it isn’t a struggle. I was expecting to be more physically worn down, especially with training faster this cycle, but it hasn’t happened yet.

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Whoa, baby! For me, this is fast.

Monday, 2/6
· 8 miles easy, 9:05 pace
• Upper body lift

Tuesday, 2/7
• 6 x 800, 6:19 pace (my fastest sustained speed work EVER!)
• With warm up, cool down and recoveries, 8 miles total

Wednesday, 2/8
• Rest
• Restorative yoga

Thursday, 2/9
• 8 miles at GMP, 7:39 pace
• 3 miles cool down, 11 miles total

Friday, 2/10
• 12 miles, 8:05
• 3 miles, 8:25 pace
• I split them up because my prescribed long run pace is 8:29 – I was too fast my first 12

Saturday, 2/11
• 
8 miles easy, 8:21 pace

Sunday, 2/12
• 7 miles easy, 9:00 pace

Totals
57 miles
One lifting session

My goals for week 10 include resuming regular strength training and incorporating more hills into my easy runs, both uphill and downhill.