Category Archives: Training

Eugene Marathon Training Week #7

Last week was peak week ya’ll.

56 miles on tap. 22 mile long run.

All kinds of big numbers that make me question my sanity and sends my injury-paranoia into overdrive.

Every 50+ mileage week I’ve ever done while marathon training has led to minor injuries. Once a major injury. I also haven’t had an injury-less spring in three years. Needless to say, I have been ridiculously in-tune and overly-wary of how my body has been feeling and how the runs have been going.

So how did this past week fare?

Things are looking/feeling/going great!

Here’s the deets:

M: 7 miles with 7×100 meter pickups, after work

T: 10 miles, no watch

W: Maximum Sculpt class + 1 hour swim

T: 12 miles w/ 7 ” fast” miles

F: 5 miles easy + Maximum Sculpt class

S: 22 miles

S: 1 hour swim

Total= 56 miles

And tack on way too many push-ups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks every night, too. That’s right… PSJJ is still going. We hate it.

A couple of things about those runs/workouts up there:

Thursday’s run didn’t go exactly as it should have.

The truth? I gave myself a little bit of an out.

On the docket was 12 miles with 7 miles @hmgp. When I read that description on my training schedule on Sunday night beforehand, I was already scared. It was like I somehow knew that I wouldn’t be up for it, and—surprise—when the day came, I definitely wasn’t. And while ordinarily I would write this off as a missed-workout and a loss of mental strength, I’m actually glad that I decided to approach this run differently.

After last weekend’s faster-than-planned half marathon plus 7 miles, my body was a little toast. Not overworked, just in need of a little more recovery than a regular training week. I decided to “do what I could” on the run instead. Go fast when I could, hold back if I needed to, essentially—let my legs dictate the run. And wouldn’t you know it, the results weren’t too shabby:

Let's play, "Find the steep uphill mile of this fun." Go!

Let’s play, “Find the steep uphill mile of this fun.” Go!

Perhaps I should have just done the workout and not let the voice of doubt get the best of me. But I’m actually happy I took the route I chose instead. There’s a difference between not giving into fear and recognizing when you actually should hold back, and it’s that fine line that defines the difference between constructive and destructive training.

Onto my favorite training run of the week: the big kahuna.

I’ve only ever done 22 miles in marathon training once before, and it was in my first training cycle. I don’t completely think that it’s physically necessary, but mentally…it’s huge. For me, getting within 4 miles of the full marathon distance does a lot for my confidence, and in distance running… confidence can at times be more important than actual endurance.

That said, there was really only one thing I wanted out of Saturday’s 22 miler: confidence. I had gained a great deal of excitement and encouragement last week from the race, but now was the time to really go long. No stopping, no breaks in the middle, just running. And running. And running.

I decided to tackle this monster on the Burke-Gilman trail for a change of scenery and also for some company. Sure enough, there were runners/bikers/walkers galore…and it felt like the place to be on a Saturday morning.

No sugar coating— this sucker took a long time. But truthfully, it felt like it went by relatively fast. I enjoyed essentially every mile of this run, and with the exception of a couple lonely/tough miles around 15-16, I felt great the whole time. I should note that it was also so m-f cold at the beginning that anyone would rather be running than standing still…meaning the first 5-ish miles were spent thawing out and regaining control of my fingers.

Once the end was in sight and I knew I wasn’t going to blow up, I decided to go for a strong finish. A strong finish in a regular training run (at the tail end of a high-mileage week) would be optimal for the whole “confidence” goal…and I’m really happy with the end results.

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8 minutes per mile flat average pace. Last mile in 7:30. I like it.

A little fast, I’ll admit. But my recovery this training cycle has been so much better than it’s ever been. I woke up on Sunday without any soreness (11 hours of sleep probably helped 🙂 ) and I essentially have zero lingering fatigue.

I decided to swim on Sunday to shake out my legs, after debating if I should take a rest day or not, which felt fantastic. I still maintain that swimming has actual magical powers.

The universe disagreed with this decision though…and it made me pay the price. I woke up yesterday after a horrible night’s sleep with a cloudy head and sore throat…allergy season, you devil. I always forget that the spring is the worst allergy-wise for me, and apparently running through the woods for 3 hours doesn’t really help them stay put.

Alas, unplanned but welcomed rest day yesterday. This week is a partial step-back week with a “shorter” long run, and otherwise— we’re heading into the homestretch, folks. Just two weeks until the three week taper starts. Crazy.

I’ve really been loving this training cycle…and as much as I’d like it to continue, I’m getting really anxious for the grand finale. My focus on my BQ goal hasn’t wavered a bit, and if anything… I’m hungrier for it now than I’ve ever been.

I think it’s possible. I think it’s going to take a little more work and a little bit of race day luck. I’m a big believer in never doubting the unexpected—both for better or for worse. But I’m also a big believer in race day magic.

We’ll see. All I can do now is continue to run well, run safe, and keep my eye on the prize.

Happy Tuesday!

How was your weekend?

Eugene Marathon Training Week #6

And just like that, we’re halfway through this training cycle already. Just crazy. I hadn’t really realized how fast approaching race day really is until Sarah posted a “42 days left” countdown yesterday. Yipes.

But! This weekend was a big confidence builder, which makes me more excited than nervous about the dwindling time frame.

So with that, here’s how week #6 shook out:

M: 12 miles- no watch, blissful + lifting

T: 5 miles + spin

W: 5 miles + Maximum Sculpt

T: 10 miles with 5 x 1,000 meters @ 5kp

F: REST

S: 20 miles total. 7 miles in ~61 minutes, then 13.1 miles at St. Paddy’s Day Run Half Marathon in 1:40.

S: Spin + 30 min stair-stepper + lifting

Total= 52 miles

Monday’s run was the kind of run you always want to have. Perfect temperatures, perfect setting, and the feeling like your floating. I didn’t wear a watch but I did see the time I started and the time I ended—essentially dead on 8 minute miles, all of which felt great.

I already wrote about the horror of Thursday’s workout, which made me slightly nervous for not only 20 miles on Saturday, but trying to maintain marathon goal-pace for 13.1 of those miles. Luckily (thanks to the Irish?) the outcome of Saturday’s running was exactly what I’d hoped for—if not better. But that’s a post for tomorrow 🙂

I think what I’m most pleased about is how my body has been feeling so far. I’ve had a few paranoia-fueled aches and pains, but overall I feel great. Nothing lingering, nothing worrisome (here’s where we all knock on wood in unison…ready, go), and generally I just feel strong. Now that this weekend is behind me, I can come out and say that for the past two years I have been unable to run on St. Paddy’s weekend because of injury. Not this year! I’m hoping this healthy trend continues through race day, as I really would like to have a fondness for spring racing.

Generally, I’m just feeling really excited. I’ve had some hard, not-so-awesome runs and workouts, but I’m trying to be of the mindset that it’s the tough ones that are going to be the most helpful tools come race day. Learning how to push through and trek on isn’t as easy as learning to play it safe, but it certainly has a better pay-off in the end. I know for a fact that running a BQ time on April 28 isn’t going to be easy or necessarily all enjoyable, so I’d rather practice the painful feelings now than let them scare me away come race day.

That’s all for now folks. Congrats to everyone who raced this weekend! It felt like the spring race season really kicked off these past two days, and from what I’ve seen so far—there were some huge milestones reached and PRs achieved. So fun to see!

Did you race this weekend? Did you spectate this weekend? Did you drink green beer this weekend?

Eugene Marathon Training Week #5

I’m baaaaack!

I almost didn’t come back—somewhere between the noon mai tais and the 80 degree weather, I tried to contrive some way of prolonging my stay indefinitely. Fake a horrible swimmer’s ear condition to the point that I could never again get on a pressurized plane? Become an overnight hula-dancing sensation so they practically beg me to stay and perform in nightly luaus?

I gave it my best effort, but all good things must come to an end. I’ll do a whole Hawaii post shortly (pictures included), but for now I’ll just say that Maui is seriously the best. Mr. BF and I had a magical time.

Last week was a cutback week which was perfect timing with our trip. I did still run a bit, and here’s a look at how training shook out:

M: spin + 30-ish min stair-stepper

T: 12 miles pre-plane flight

W: REST

T: 9 miles w/ 4 @ hmgp (5 outside with BF, 4 @ 7:30 pace on treadmill)

F: 6 miles easy

S: 14 miles, (10 outside, 4 on treadmill, overall ~8:10 pace)

S: REST

Total= 41 miles

Two rest days up there people, I’m patting myself on the back.

Saturday’s long run was no joke. It was HARD. Running in Hawaii is beautiful, however it is also incredibly sweaty and difficult. I was only able to force out 10 miles before I had to call it quits on the humidity and head indoors to finish it off. Not the most ideal way to long run, but I’m glad I got it done. Here’s a look at how running in Hawaii always ended up:

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So pretty.

But who doesn’t love a good soaker sweat, right?

Time to get back to real life for now. Sad faces all over. Have a nice Tuesday!

Eugene Marathon Training Week #4

Happy Monday folks, how’s your day off to so far?

Time for a little training update. My tail is between my legs a bit as I know my last post was last Monday…and it was also a training update, but it happens sometimes. Ironically, I have a drafted post about how I haven’t been posting/haven’t had time/haven’t had inspiration, but of course, it remains a draft.

No matter, I think you’d rather read about running than my boring musings about not posting anyways.

This week was good. Kind of weird, as in it felt both very easy and very hard, but overall it was pretty quintessential marathon training.

M: 6.6 miles easy PM

T: 10 miles with 5 @ HMGP

This was hard. One of those workouts where I questioned how the f I was able to run 7:30s for 13.1 miles not too long ago. But either way, it happened and here’s how it went down:

2.5 mile warm up

7:27, 7:25, 7:27, 7:26, 7:23

2.5 mile cool down

This kicked my butt, but it was one of those runs where I could almost feel how effective the fast miles were going to be. Good stuff. Learning to appreciate the pain…and appreciate when it’s done 🙂

W: 8 miles + Maximum Sculpt <— love love love this class

T: REST

F: 6.6 miles slow

S: 20 miles in ~2:42

S: 4000 yd swim (~2.2 miles) + yoga

Total= 51.2 miles

Lots of numbers up there to talk about. First of all, I had my first 20 miler on Saturday, and for better or for worse—it was a tough run. Based on the route I chose, I ended up with about 14 miles of headwind—which is perhaps my least desirable condition, especially on a long run. Give me snow storms and pouring rain, but please oh please spare me the wind. Thank goodness for no goal-pace miles. BUT, I firmly believe that it’s the really grinders, the mentally-challenging runs that make the marathoner. 26.2 miles hurts no matter what—so it’s better to train with a little pain sometimes as opposed to simply fairy-dusting our way through each long run. So, once I again, I embraced it. And despite the slug-fest feeling of it all, I finished in a pretty good time. My right leg was super tight/heavy, which I felt was holding me back, but apparently it was more of a brain thing.

Another number to discuss: 50! I broke that barrier this week, and while I could feel the mileage increase, I have to say I’m a little shocked at my recovery times and how much they’re decreasing. I was barely sore after Saturday’s run, and on Sunday my legs felt as if it hadn’t even happened. Really happy about this. It could be that it’s my 4th time doing a full training cycle, or a myriad of other cosmic possibilities I suppose, but at any rate I think I’ll just keep doing what I’m going.

Admittedly, the big 5-0 number is when I start to get hyper-aware of injury possibility. The higher mileage weeks have always been the common denominator for me in terms of when I get hurt, so honestly I have been experiencing a little injury-hypochondria. Better paranoid  safe than sorry though. Again, I’m going to just continue to do what I’m doing and listen to the little aches and such as they come and go.

Oh, and in case you’d like an update…PSJJ is still happening! We’re into the 60s now, and it’s rough. But not rough enough to quit yet. The push-ups are getting easier, which is nice, but the sit-ups are getting tougher. We’ll see.

One last thing I’d like to point to: Yoga! I haven’t been to yoga since probably last October or so, and while I always kind of dread going, I forget how happy I am when I’m done. It’s hard to psych myself up for a yoga class the same way I can psych myself up for a run, but, like running, I’m always thankful after the fact. And let me tell you, there are much worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon than a long solo swim followed by an easy yoga class. So rejuvenating and cleansing.

Anyway, this week is cutback week—which feels like perfect timing. Not only will I be out of town (!!!HAWAII!!!), but it feels like the perfect point in time to draw in the reigns a bit.

That’s all for now, I hope at some point I can entertain you with more than just training-reflections and weekly updates 🙂 You can, however, count on an assortment of photos from our Maui trip after we return—as for when we’re there, well, I am hoping to forego all social media as much as possible, so until next week—aloha!

How was your weekend? 

Eugene Marathon Training Week #3

Good morning!

I hope everyone had a great weekend and your Monday has started off well (or at least—bearable 🙂 ) Did anyone watch the Oscars last night? Let me rephrase that…did anyone not watch the Oscars last night? The internet was blowing up with commentary. I somehow managed to watch the entire show—beginning to end—and was pretty entertained. The show is always more enjoyable when you’ve seen a lot of the big films, which I somehow managed this year, so overall I enjoyed it. The Sound of Music reference killed me. Also…this:

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Moving on, last week was my third week of training for Eugene, and it was a good one.

M: 6 m trail run- slow, meditative, perfect

T: 5 m run + spin

W: 11 m run + Maximum Sculpt

T: REST

F: 5 m slow run + Maximum Sculpt

S: 18 m long run w/ 10 m @mgp

S: 75 min spin + lifting

Total= 45 miles

Saturday’s long run was a bit intimidating. I wasn’t feeling 100% tip-top, and I woke up in a grumpy mood to begin with. However, it turned out pretty great—and while it was a little fast again, I’m starting to really feel “in the zone” in my hopeful goal pace. I finished in 2:24, which is exactly and 8:00/mile average- 10 of which were between 7:50s and 7:55s.

The thing I was probably most pleased about in regard to this run was just how well I recovered from it. I had zero lingering soreness that night, and yesterday morning I felt 100%. Good signs. I tried to walk around a lot after the run on Saturday so I think that may have had something to do with it.

Otherwise, training is going well. I like the more orderly schedule I’m following as it takes a lot of the guess work out of it. My first of 4(?) 20+ milers is this weekend, and next week will be cutback week…which happens to be perfect timing, because next week I’ll be heading here…

Big%20Beach%20Maui%20Hawaii

Oh Maui, you can’t come soon enough.

Have a lovely week, friends!

Eugene Marathon Training Week #2

I’m alive!

Sorry for the delay in training updates/posting. To quote the most overused excuse in history…I’ve been busy, busy, busy. My brother and I ventured down to Oregon over the long weekend, and between the travel, the running, and the pile of work I have to do…little runbirdierun hasn’t been the top priority.

But moving on… let’s take a look at week 2 of Eugene training!

M: 11 miles, easy. No watch- just glorious, dark, early morning miles.

T: 85 minute swim

W: 8 miles, 4 @hmp + Maximum Sculpt

T: 7 miles- Valentine’s Day run with BF!

F: 40 min? (don’t really remember) stair-stepper + Maximum Sculpt

S: REST

S: 16 miles, 8:07 avg. page

Total= 42 miles

***Maximum Sculpt is my gym’s version of BodyPump…just no copyright.

This week was generally good, with the exception of a few run rearrangements. I moved Friday’s run to Thursday for the sake of running with my Valentine(insert hearts all over the place).

Wednesday’s workout was interesting. For some reason, the 4 miles I did at half-marathon pace (7:30/mile) felt WAY better than the 4 slow miles I did on either side of those miles. Weird. Also, in a fit of tired delirium/general clumsiness, I dropped a 10 pound dumbbell on my foot while racking my weights. Cue: panic over broken toes, damaged foot nerves, etc. Lucky for me, the weight missed my toes and I currently just have a bruise on top of my foot. Not so lucky for me were how many people saw this happen…smooth moves, Broker.

I also did my long run on Sunday instead of my preferred and usual Saturday morning.  I wanted so badly to get it done on Saturday, really I did. But after 7.5 hours of driving to Oregon on Friday night and a 12:30 am bedtime after getting up at 4:30 that morning…Saturday was not going to happen. Which was fine, but when I have to unexpectedly push back a long run, it weighs on me and I start to irrationally dread it. Which is why on Sunday morning, it was almost impossible to think of running a mile, let alone 16.

However, I let me legs do the talking and they answered. I felt good, especially considering the hilly route I took:

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A little Les Mis soundtrack, a backdrop of evergreen trees and lakes…I was a happy little runner.

And since I apparently have zero ability to articulate anything of substance right now, I’ll leave you with some photos from my glorious weekend on the Oregon coast:

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My beautiful Grammy

My beautiful Grammy

Grandad the postcard model

Granddad the postcard model

I mean...what else do you buy when you've been in the car/traffic/fog for 7 hours on a Friday night?

I mean…what else do you buy when you’ve been in the car/traffic/fog for 7 hours on a Friday night?

Seriously? SERIOUSLY.

Seriously? SERIOUSLY.

I really did have a great weekend. Seeing my family always seems to restore and revitalize me…and when you combine that with many hours spent reading by a fire, good food, and fresh ocean air, well…let’s just say I feel like a whole new woman this week. Two mornings in a row of a 4:20 alarm, and I’m feeling tip-top…we’ll see how long it lasts 🙂

And just because maybe you could use a laugh:

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God the internet is full of awesome things.

There you have it! My training/weekend/photo dump of a post. I would promise some more structure next time, but I’m fairly certain that would be a lie.

Anyway, I hope your week has been good and you are all as happy as I am that the days are no longer ending at 4 pm. C’mon spring!

Eugene Marathon Training Week #1

Week 1 is in the books!

I felt great this week, and I think this Pete Pfitzinger program and I are going to get along swimmingly. It’s a great balance of what I’m used to and new, exciting things—which means I feel like I have the tools to take it on, but it’s still interesting and fun. Here’s how this week looked:

M: 8 miles w/ 10×100 m pick-ups

T: REST

W: 10 miles

T: spin + 20 min stair-stepper

F: 6 miles, easy + BodyPump

S: 14 miles LR w/ 8 miles @mgp

S: spin + lifting

Total= 38 miles running

*LR= long run, mgp= marathon goal pace, m= meters, pick-ups= 85% sprint effort

I stuck to my prescribed workouts to a T this week, which ideally will happen more often than not. It was a little daunting to start week one with 8 marathon goal pace miles plugged into the long run, but it turned out to be successful and actually made the time go faster. The long run was admittedly a little fast, especially my non-goal pace miles, so I’ll have to pay a bit more attention to that (I didn’t really look at my watch until it was time to start the goal-pace miles), but I felt great during it. Here’s a look at the splits:

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So yes, too fast—but that’s fixable. Right now, I’m playing with a 7:55-ish marathon goal pace. We’ll see. It felt good during this run, a little fast but not hard. Just need to start working on slowing down when goal pace isn’t required. I also headed to the Burke Gilman trail for this run which was highly enjoyable. Lots of people, dirt to run on, and just enough up and down to keep things interesting. BF went with me and did 10 on his own, then we headed to brunch. Long run + good food= Saturday morning perfection.

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Lots and lots of coffee.

I don’t know if there will ever be a time when a long run doesn’t exhaust me. Perhaps it was the faster miles, but anything over 12 tends to set in that familiar post-long-run energy drain. It’s a good tired feeling though, albeit a little inconvenient on Saturday nights.

Also, in keeping with the theme of workout recaps, BF and I have continued our PSJJ streak! For those of you who didn’t read about our hair-brained resolution, we decided to do a push-up, a sit-up, and a jumping jack per the day in the year. Jan 1=1, Jan 2=2…and so on. It’s ridiculous, however we’re now on 42 and there’s no stopping in sight. It’s already a little difficult, but I’m trying not to complain yet…on the bright side, my push-ups are definitely feeling easier! Will keep you posted on how this progresses…

In OTHER news…something so very exciting happened yesterday:

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I finally got a bike!!! I’ve been joking about, stressing about, and longing for a good, quality road bike for probably two years now, and I finally took the plunge yesterday and couldn’t be happier. Also, please excuse my “Sunday best” attire.

If we’re being honest, my main intention in buying this pretty little bike is to get into triathlons. I have crazy, far-fetched dreams about a possible tri-career, and if I’m not mistaken, being comfortable on a bike is *kind-of* a necessary skill to have. Out of the three disciplines, the bike would definitely be my weakness—as I just don’t have the riding experience. And I’m pretty sure spinning doesn’t qualify.

Anyways, while my focus right now is 100% on Eugene…I’m so happy to have finally bridged a big gap between my own planning and actual tri potential. One ride down the street on that baby and it was love, I was a goner.

BF wouldn't let me take her to bed, jerk.

BF wouldn’t let me take her to bed, jerk.

Now accepting possible names for her.

I also got clip-in pedals, cleats, and a big ‘ole lock. Now all I need are shoes…and to figure out how the hell to clip in/out without dying. Also now accepting proper bike riding lessons.

That’s all folks! A good weekend and a great start to marathon training. I feel good about this one, and I’m hoping for nothing but positive forward momentum. Let’s go!

How was your weekend? Do you have a bike? Have you done a tri? HELP ME.

It’s Here!

That’s right folks. Marathon training officially BEGUN! I feel psyched, ready, and admittedly a little nervous.

I kicked off my official training plan this morning with 8 miles, including 10 x 100 meter strides. I didn’t  wear a watch, so both my effort and distance on the strides were all by guess-timation, but they were actually fairly enjoyable! I liked the switch-up in turnover rate. I feel like I have a decent gauge of what 100 meters looks/feels like from my track days, so essentially I just picked objects in the distance and sprinted to them. A little fartlek-y. Ugh, talk about making a gross word grosser. But you get the point. It was a good run.

I really liked doing weekly recaps when I was training for Chicago, so I’ll do my best to get my training weeks up here on Mondays. Some of you might find them boring, so I apologize, but they really help me a lot—so, yea…sorry?

I’m very much equal parts excited and nervous for this marathon training kick-off to begin. Excited  because, as I’ve said before, I’ve never quite had the base like I do now. I’m anxious to apply the  running I’ve been doing these past 3 or so months into a very structured training schedule. My miles won’t end up being all that much higher than what I’ve already been doing, however they will be much more strategic and organized than what I’ve done in the past. I’m releasing the reigns, in other words, and I love it. Letting the expertise of others feels like the right approach this time around, and hopefully the results will reflect that decision.

However, I’m a little ball of worry about this spring as well. Historically, spring has not been good for me training-wise. Two years ago, after a half-marathon and way too much over-training/stupidity, I tore my hip flexor and was out until the beginning of July. I’m not really worried about something that extreme happening again (read: I like to think I am a much smarter/safer runner nowadays), but it’s more the haunting memories that get to me.

Also, last year I got sidelined with bad knee bursitis while training for this very same marathon. Luckily, due to some rest, cortisone, and rearranging, I was still able to run a Spring marathon (though not Eugene)….only to be struck down (literally) by a bad race and a heaping side of IT band syndrome.

In other words, spring has historically not been my strongest months. Which sucks, because the idea of spring running is always appealing to me. More sun! Flowers! Birds! Birthday month!

It’s time to reverse the cycle though. While I definitely don’t like the feeling that bad luck is waiting for me every time the calendar turns to March, I also know that prevention is the best weapon against almost all running-related plagues.

I’ll be switching up just about everything regarding this training schedule, and I’ll therefore also be switching up my dedication to injury prevention. It has always been easy for me to say that I’ll hold off if something hurts, and that I’ll stretch more, roll more, and ice anything that feels “off.” Doing these things is a whole other thing—and if there’s one thing I’ve learned through my bouts of training/recovering, it’s that training for a marathon requires much more than the miles.

So, you can consider this my oath to train both on and off the roads. I will not be brought down by another spring monster, in fact—I refuse it, and I’m trying to internalize the fact that I am actually in complete control of my training.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

And speaking of such, I decided not to run the 25k race yesterday. After receiving the opinions from you lovely people, as well as a scary-tough-love opinion from my dear mother, I realized something: It wasn’t the distance that was an issue, it was the fact that it was a race.

Yes, no matter if it’s a months-in-the-making goal race, or a haphazard, low-key neighborhood run that happens to include bibs, I have a very hard time not racing a race. Even when I decide to “take it easy” or “promise I’m not going to race,” I will always run faster than I would have on a normal long run, and—should the opportunity be available—I will try to perform well. Last year, I won the 25k, and even though I would have vowed to not take this race seriously—I can guarantee I would have tried to win again.

Maybe I’m just a huge asshole. Maybe I’m just too competitive. Either way, I know myself well enough to know that “racing” 15.2 miles the day before marathon training is supposed to start wouldn’t go along with the theme of keeping myself healthy. It probably would have been fine, I probably would have had a great time, but even that ounce of possibility that it would have takne away from my planned training program wasn’t worth the risk.

So instead, I still ran long. I waved at people racing along the way, and although I was a little sad I wasn’t there with them—I was glad that I went against my instincts this time. Again, nothing changes if nothing changes—and if the decisions I’ve made in the past have lead me into injury-ridden corners of sadness, well, I’ll be steering clear of them.

And on one final, somewhat unrelated note, I give you a photo from the weekend:

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I cannot tell you how fun it was to spend a weekend day not running, sitting on the couch, shopping at Target, or running around trying to do every errand possible. Those things are good sometimes, but sometimes it’s better to switch it up by spending a day outside in the mountains.

My shins still hurt from my boots and my back still hurts from my bad posture, but Saturday was one of the best days I’ve had in a while. I can completely understand how people abandon all other weekend activities during the winter in favor of heading for the slopes and the snow.

And in a completely apbrupt, non-transitional ending to this post, have a good week everyone!

 

On a Scale of 1 to Really Stupid…

This week is the calm before the storm.

Next Monday, I’ll be starting a 12 week journey toward the Eugene Marathon. Yipee-kay-yay, I can’t wait. Like, legitimately psyched for this.

16 week programs are always too much for me to wrap my head around, so I prefer to stick to 12 weeks, with a good amount of running base built up. Maybe I just have commitment issues (NOT—I’ve had the same haircut for 10 years), but there’s something so much more do-able sounding about “12 weeks.”

This is the best I’ve felt fitness-wise going into marathon training. I’ve been trying really hard to keep a log and build up mileage in a somewhat systematic way, without being too compulsive about it. I’ve been averaging ~40 miles/week…sometimes more, sometimes less. I’ve also been trying to consistently run 14-16 mile long runs on the weekend, which makes the upcoming 18-22s not as daunting. Kidding, they’re still scary.

I was considering taking this week as a zero-running week altogether, just to reset the system.

Ya…not exactly happening. It’s not that I couldn’t do it, I just didn’t feel it was all that necessary. Instead, I’m “tapering” a bit before actual training starts next week. Tapering, meaning that I’ll run fewer miles and focus on stretching and sleeping. The sleeping part isn’t for the sake of tapering actually—that’s just for fun.

So fewer miles, more leg TLC, etc.

Which brings me to my, “Just how stupid am I?” question:

This weekend happens to be the same weekend as West Seattle’s annual “Fat Ass 50k.”

No, don’t worry, I am not going to run a 50k before taking on a strict marathon training schedule.

BUT, there is a 25k option. Some of you might remember, I ran it last year, and had a blast.

I really really really want to do it again. I know a few people doing it, and it’s generally just fun to be out on a Sunday with a bunch of other neighborhood runners gearing up for an afternoon of Superbowl debauchery.

This race is very low key, very casual, but still very exciting. There are even bibs this year! And they have homebrews as prizes!

So here’s my question: How stupid is it to run a 15.2 mile race the day before beginning to marathon train?

Be honest please. I can’t guarantee I’ll obey anyone’s opinions, but I thought I’d throw the question out there. Remember, I wouldn’t actually “race” this race…more like a fun long run with paper safety pinned to me.

Thoughts?

Getting Ready

Happy Wednesday!

I hope you had a nice long weekend (if you got Monday off) and your [short!] week has started off well. Again, not a lot of interesting things to report on these parts—I went to Spokane for the weekend to visit my friend Anna, which was ridiculously needed/enjoyable. Lots of laughing, staying up late, food, etc. Fun was had by all.

Sitting atop a giant snow ball (or perhaps the bottom half of a snowman?) with Koopa the dog. She was clearly enjoying herself.

Sitting atop a giant snow ball (or perhaps the bottom half of a snowman?) with Koopa the dog. She was clearly enjoying herself.

Last week, I did something I’ve rarely done before…I ran 5 days in a row. It wasn’t really planned, it just kind of happened. And despite feeling really tired on the final day (Saturday), everything held up well! I’m really pleased with how the ol’ legs have seemed to be recovering in this base-building stage, and it gets me even more excited for Eugene training to start in 1.5 weeks!

Speaking of, there are a few things I’m planning on doing differently this time around. Or at least, there are some things I’ll be doing differently and some that worked before that I’ll be incorporating again. Here are some of my focal points for this training session, in list form for your (and my) convenience.

1) An actual training program

Yes, it’s true. I ran my first, second, and third marathon all via a self-made regimen  I think my first program was *loosely* based on Hal Higdon, but not very closely. It’s worked out in certain ways (more flexibility, more personalized tailoring) but since I’ve gotten two (minor) overuse injuries in my past two training sessions, I’m heading over to the pros.

I’ll be following a Pete Pfitzinger plan from his book Advanced Marathoning. More details on that to come—but essentially I’ll be following the 12-week program to a T, with minor adjustments if I need some rearranging. But other than any scheduling conflicts or necessary resting…my training is going to be entirely dictated by this plan.

2) SLOW running!

One of the reasons I’ve been able to do a good amount of running recently is because I’m doing my fast runs fast, and my slow runs slow. I talked about it last week, but I’m realizing just how beneficial slow paces can be—you still log miles, however without the strain of always running a more difficult pace.

Rocket science people. I love that I’ve learned this though…because not only is it helpful in recovery, I’m realizing I kind of love running slowly. It takes the pressure off, or something. It’s like a different type of running, if that makes any sense? Less plugged in, less intense, just leisurely  happy running. Plus it means I get to run with BF—my new favorite dating activity.

3) Stretching, foam rolling, compressing

Yada yada yada, I always say I need to do this—I’m not normally the best at it. In fact, the universe is rolling her eyes and laughing right now at me because recently I’ve been exceptionally bad at it.

But, it helps make the miles feel better and eliminates the usual aches and pains. I’m committing to these small but mighty tasks. In two months, if I tell you that I’ve been slacking on rolling or that I’ve “forgotten” to stretch my always-so-tight hamstrings, someone come hit me over the head with my roller.

Only kind of not kidding at all.

4) Good fuel

I’m someone who can really feel the benefits when I put good, wholesome food in my body. I’m also a big believer in real food—meaning not protein bars, not sports drinks, not packaged things—to be the very best fuel for our bodies. It’s truly a personal matter for everyone, but for me—the more simple the foods, the better. A diseased digestive system will let you know this very quickly.

Therefore, lots of vegetables, lots of fruit, lots of fish, etc. It’s not necessarily that I want these things all the time—but my stomach and my muscles always appreciate it. So during the week, and pre-long runs, I’m going to at least try to eat like an athlete. Although I also believe eating for sport and eating cookies are definitely not mutually exclusive. The desserts stay. Brain health is important too.

5) Logging

I started a training journal after Chicago, and I think it’s been a really helpful tool to not only track mileage, but also for tracking progress and general running “check-ins.” In that journal, I’m not afraid to hate-write “THAT SUCKED” all about a horrible run, or “I FELT INCREDIBLE!” after a good long run. There’s a little more privacy, and honesty, in a training journal that isn’t splashed all over the internet, and for me—it’s been the only way to successfully track my mileage.

But don’t worry, I’ll still be posting weekly training recaps here 🙂

That’s all folks! I’m getting excited to get this show under way. I feel like I’ve done more prep work—both physically and mentally—for this round of training than I ever have before, and that preparedness has eased a lot of nerves and paved the way for a shot-gun start. I’m feeling ready, and that’s exactly where I want to be.

Oh! One last thing…WATER, WATER, WATER, WATER, NUUN, WATER, WATER, WATER!

How do you get psyched for marathon training?

What things do you incorporate along with the miles of marathon training?

Tell me about your weekend!