Halfway to Dallas!

This past Sunday marked the halfway point of my 20 week training for Dallas Marathon. It really is going fast. Now that the long runs are getting longer (and the midweek runs are pretty darn early) it helps immensely having someone to run with. I know I mentioned that we are doing the Simple Marathon Training plan, but I don’t know if I talked much about the ancillary work that goes with it.

A couple of things have been different about this training:

1. Running by feel.

2. LMLS and SAM work.

Running by feel has taken a little getting used to. Most of the runs are done by minutes, not miles. Easy runs have no prescribed pace. So it’s been a little bit of an adjustment, but I’m learning to not look at my Garmin so much and enjoy the run more. These are the times I’ve focused more on conversations with my running friend.

The LMLS (lunge matrix, leg swings) and SAM (strength and mobility) work are a part of every run day. This is definitely new. LMLS is done right before every run (about 5 minutes of work), and SAM immediately follows every run. You can find the videos here. When I first started doing this routine, I did have some soreness. I really started on this part about a year ago, but wasn’t faithful with it. When we started with week one, we committed to do this part of the training. The yoga mat stays in the trunk of the car, and it’s a regular part of the morning routine. I can see where it’s paying off.

Last week, our 10th week of consistent LMLS and SAM work, we had two pretty intense runs.

On Tuesday, we ran Yasso 800s. Nine of them! I was excited about nailing that workout, and I didn’t get the jelly leg feeling I usually do after a hard track session. But the biggest surprise was the next day for the easy run, I didn’t feel beat up like I expected to after speed work. It wasn’t a short run the next day either – a little over 6 miles. I would say maybe I didn’t run hard enough for the 800s, but I know that was not the case! Of course I celebrated chocolate milk day on Wednesday after that 6 miles!

 

Then on Saturday, we ran our first 20 miler of the season. It was a beautiful morning!

I wanted to try to keep my mile splits all under 10:00, and for the most part I did. I think there were two that were just over 10:00. It was kind of rough for the last few miles as the sun started to zap my energy, but it was nice pounding out the remainder of that long run with my friend after the rest of our group peeled off. I ended up with a 9:47 average and just a few stops for water, etc.

I struggled through the SAM work afterward, and then went through my usual recovery routine once I got home (chocolate milk, compression socks, grocery shopping…) Other than being really tired and thirsty all day, I felt pretty good. I did wake up in the middle of night with some stiffness, but once I was up on Sunday morning I just dealt with some mild soreness. I did some pool walking that afternoon while my daughter worked on some stuff at the gym.

I really encourage you to check out the videos and try it out. It’s a good way to add strength to your training without taking an entire day/workout to get it done.

We have several more long runs in the 18-22 mile range in the next couple of months, and Showdown half on October 14th.

I’m excited to see how this plan plays out. I’m working from where I am, and that’s all I can do. 🙂

 

 

 

Advertisements

Dallas Training Continues

This past week wrapped up week 7 of 20 for Dallas Marathon training. It’s been a pretty good couple of weeks.

We had one of our largest Saturday groups (in week 6) that I’ve seen in the 5 years I’ve been a part of Texoma Runners:

A decent 16 mile run with some nice weather:

Week 7 included

a #RunforTexas 10k for Harvey relief:

A second 16 mile run with a good-sized group surrounding us the whole time:


 

It was nice to have so many with us as we went into the double digits, since usually it’s just my friend and I finishing our long run by ourselves (during marathon training). Because of the way this run worked out, we had an early group and a later group keep us company. 🙂 The weather was absolutely wonderful for an early September run in Texas. We also had another runner join us for all of both 16 milers, as she is prepping for her first half next week. I think she’ll be ready.

I have been working on my fueling for long runs, and it looks like Ucan is going to be my go-to. I used it the last two weeks, as well as a few other times, and it seems to be working well. I also supplement my hydration/electrolytes with Nuun of course.

This coming Saturday is a local 5k. I would say it’s the biggest one all year. We have tried to figure out how we’re going to work in our 18 miler, but it looks like we’re going to abbreviate it and run the 5k in there somewhere. It won’t be the fastest I can run, but I need to look at the big picture. Marathon.

 

 

Big Goals and Routine Changes

Toward the end of 2015, I saw a lot of posts/tweets/pics about goals for 2016, and race schedules, and plans. I started to feel like I was behind the curve because I didn’t have my race schedule mapped out for the entire year. All I knew was I had a marathon at the end of February.

Then when I wondered if I would ever get it together, things started to fall into place. Now I have the main arteries in place to map out my training for the first part of the year. I’m set with my big goals at least until the end of June.

My blueprint for the next six months to guide my training:

Train to get closer to a four hour marathon at Cowtown by strengthening more, improving overall nutrition, and pushing myself more on the hard and/or long run days.

Tackle a triathlon with an open water swim before June.

So…I can then compete in my first 70.3 race at the end of June – which I registered for before the end of the year to save some cash.

IMG_7078

 

That was the easy part.

My motivation is high. My training is back in full swing. I had an awesome long run the day after New Year’s. It was my first run over 5 miles since Dallas, and I’d say it went well. There are benefits when I run with a group who are all faster than me.

IMG_7086

I made myself run hills because I know it will prepare me for Cowtown.

IMG_7101 (2)

It totally sucked, but I got it done.

My long run Saturday helped me feel better about my endurance. The weather was nasty, but I found that I was able to push myself through mentally. I always wonder what people think when they drive past me and the weather is less than ideal. Then I saw some a softball game going on at the park, and I thought “Well, at least I’m moving.” IMG_7104

On the weekdays, I have been focusing on finishing my runs by a certain time – no matter if I finish the mileage or not – so I can be sure to get my strength routine done. That means if I oversleep, I run less. Since I noticed such a difference in my form during the Dallas Marathon from adding core training, I want to keep at it. It’s the little things that make the difference.

Nutrition. Well, I was doing fine after Christmas and up until last week. I lost a couple of the pounds I gained after the marathon. Then I hit a few bumps over the weekend (s’mores) but I’ll get back to it.

My biggest challenge right now has been my work schedule – which affected my blog. This post was started last Monday.

I’m starting my second week of working between two offices. When the owner approached me a few weeks ago to ask if I’d like to broaden my horizons, I said yes. I will not turn down opportunity to learn new functions. The hardest part for me has been adjusting my schedule. My workday is starting earlier (right after I drop the kids at school), which is fine with me, but I lost some of the time I would use to make and eat breakfast, finish getting ready, etc. In a way, it’s forced me to get my act together earlier. On the other hand, my appetite is all out of whack, because I’m eating breakfast earlier, and taking my lunch later. The major benefit to this though is that I’m a two minute drive from home, and I can go home for lunch. Larabars to snack on in between meals is the norm now. I also carry almonds, greek yogurt, and fruit. If you have any more good ideas for healthy, portable snacks, please share!

I’m sure in a few weeks, my schedule will settle down and I’ll be in a routine. That should be right about the time I get ready to start Half Ironman training, which starts right after the Cowtown Marathon.

I sure do love a challenge!

 

Last Week’s Training

Because it’s peak week (and life is hitting hard today), here is my synopsis of last week’s marathon training – in pictures.

Finishing a run with this beautiful backdrop:

IMG_6753

Cooler temperatures have arrived (some days):

IMG_6755

Which means long sleeves (and compression socks for tired legs):

IMG_6766

Maybe a hint that we should turn on the heater. For reference, she sleeps with her ceiling fan on and likes her room cold:

IMG_6767

Perfect weather for a long run, which equates to faster paces:

IMG_6771

Lots of chocolate milk on hand:

IMG_6773

On Saturday afternoon, we went to a seminar at Trishop in Dallas. They were celebrating their 4th anniversary all weekend with events, giveaways, and sales. Both of us won a prize and ended up with all this stuff:

IMG_6780

I’ll try out the chews probably after Dallas, since it’s less than a month away. The session was informative – about Ironman – and geared toward first-timers.  Yes, that’s a someday goal that will take me a while to get to. But I wanted to see what kind of info I could come away with. It was time well spent and I’m putting a timeline in place.

 

 

Training: Weeks 1-3

Last week I finished up week 3 of Dallas Marathon training, and had my first 40 mile week in months. At this point, I’m enjoying a cutback week and am feeling pretty good about my training so far.

When I wrote about my training plan that I was creating for myself, I failed to mention the resources I was pulling from. I started right where my summer mileage left off and used the Marathon Own It plan from the Train Like a Mother book as my guideline. I then used the McMillan Running calculator to plug in my training paces and recommended workouts.  I have had the McMillan Pro for a few years to get the extras, and for $2 month, it’s worth every penny. These two resources are what I used to train two years ago when I set my PR. The main differences for this year though – lower mileage with five days of running (instead of 6), and I’m still biking and swimming.

Of the two hard days last week, the one I was most worried about went off without a hitch. Early Thursday mornings follow late bedtimes on Wednesday. Generally, we don’t get home from church until after 8:00. Then everyone needs a snack before getting ready for bed. If I’m in bed before 10 pm it’s surprising. So when I looked closer at the training plan, and started to add up mileage, I didn’t know how it would get done. 4x3000m @ marathon pace (9:09) with 800m recovery. That didn’t include the warmup and cool down. I converted the meters to miles beforehand and gave myself a little over an hour and half to get it done.

Surprise! Not only did I manage to get the math right (my lap button will track lap pace but not lap distance – try adding 1.86 miles each set – I’m an English major), but I also got all the repeats done, and managed under race pace for all of them. That felt pretty amazing.

BAM!

BAM!

I wish I could have captured exactly how beautiful it was to see the moon throughout this run. From an orange glow, to a white Cheshire cat smile, to the early moments of dawn, I watched the crescent smile the entire time.

IMG_6373

At the end of my run, and I can still see the moon.

 

Saturday’s long run called for 16 miles, middle 6 at race pace. I thought about what miles I would be running with the group, and decided I probably wouldn’t be able to manage that pace. I also worried about pushing too far since my last week’s run was 13 miles. I don’t usually like to jump more than two miles up at a time. But then fall weather showed up, and there was a scheduling conflict too that needed me home earlier. The weather was wonderful! I forgot what it was like to be able to breathe while running. I posted this comment to our Facebook group after the run: Unless you have slogged through hot, humid summer running, I don’t know if you can truly appreciate how wonderful the weather was this morning. Based on the comments and feedback, others felt the same way.

Somehow I managed to get all 16 miles done, and ran miles 6-12 at 9:11 average pace. Not quite my race pace of 9:09, but gosh darn it was close enough!

IMG_6376

My legs had forgotten what a long run feels like, and they were tingling all day to remind my brain. Compression socks were on and I was wiped out. But, boy did it feel good!

On Sunday afternoon, I took my bike back out for cross-training day. This time I didn’t fall, and no dogs chased me. The funny thing is, I wasn’t afraid of falling until I did. I also wasn’t really afraid of dogs chasing me until it happened. Now I’m more hesitant, but I suppose it gets easier with time.

I’ll be racing my first 5k since May this Saturday. I don’t expect to set any records, but I’m going to have fun. I love local races.

Oh, and congratulations to those who are getting to register for the Boston Marathon this week. I admire the hard work and dedication it takes to get there. Someday, I hope to be there too.

Have a great week!

 

 

 

Marathon Training and My Plan

I made it through week one of marathon training and the first week of school. No one was late and we didn’t forget anything major, and I got all my planned miles in. The first few days of ironing out the routine were a little shaky, but I’d say the first week was a success.

I completed the outline of my training plan for the Dallas Marathon, and my weeks will be made up of 2 easy runs, 2 harder runs (1 speed, 1 other), and the long run. I threw in a cross training day too. This is different from what I’ve done in the past, where I’ve run for six days and taken one rest day. My mileage won’t be as high as it has been in the past either. Goal is to get to race day healthy and happy – and with my family still speaking to me. This is not the year for me to try to qualify for Boston. Physically, I’m not there. But also, this is my daughter’s senior year. There will be a lot going on this fall/winter and I want to be present. Not just in body, but my mind too. This is her year, not mine.

That being said, a sub 4:00 marathon is my goal. It is in reach, if I’m smart. That’s why I designed my training. I did the same thing two years ago, and ran my PR of 4:02:03 in Houston. I know my body and I know how I can push my limits – most of the time. Occasionally, I have surprised myself with a faster than I thought possible race. So this will do until the day I can justify spending money on a coach (see above high school senior – followed by two more siblings).

Last week, I had some pretty good training days. It was a nice mix, and I kept my easy days at slower pace. Mostly due to the humidity, but also because I want to be able to have good paces on the other days.

I threw in a hill day.

IMG_6316

Saturday’s long run was faster than I expected.

IMG_6324

The face of the watch doesn’t tell the whole story. My hips were sore from standing and working the concession stand at the football game Friday night. I only got 5 hours of sleep that night. I ran the first 5 miles with the group, and I was at the back of the pack running 9:20s. That was a blow to my ego, but I had to remind myself that I was running farther and needed to do my pace. Then there were some slower miles with my running friend. I picked up for the last mile and a half at race pace. Overall, I’m pleased with how it went. It was the longest run I have had since the Wounded Warrior half in June.

I outlined the rest of my year by sprinkling in some races throughout my training plan. This is my tentative plan to get through December:

September 19th – local 5k – Sherman Autumn Arts Fest Run. This one I do every year. It’s a family event.

October 10th – Showdown half marathon in Fairview

October 25th – Monster Tri (?) in Denton – Why yes, I am still biking and swimming, just not as much as when I was training for my first tri.

November – This month is still up in the air. Last year I ran the Blue Red Run half marathon, which is exactly four weeks before the Dallas Marathon. I’ll see how the training goes as it gets closer.

December 6th – Rock ‘n Roll San Antonio half marathon – With Team Chocolate Milk! This is a taper week for me, and what better way to make sure I run easy than enjoying the scenery of a city I’ve never run. I will probably even take pictures at this one.

December 13th – Dallas Marathon! This will be the year for perfect running weather. 😉 It’s long overdue.

I’m looking forward to my training and the races.

Do you have races planned out through the end of the year?

 

 

 

It’s Race Week!

Exactly one year ago today, I ran a half marathon up and down my alley.

My Icy Half Marathon

My Icy Half Marathon

This year, as I prepare for the Dallas Marathon on Sunday, I have a lot of thoughts swirling around my brain.

This will be my fourth year to run Dallas (half 2010, full 2011 and 2012). I will set three finishing goals (A, B, and C) and I will enjoy the race.

This training cycle has been hard. It has tested my mental strength more than anything. I find myself wondering exactly what I was thinking with a maximum 16 mile long run. I also wonder what it feels like to run on “fresh legs.”

This is the plan!

This is the plan!

Although my time goal has changed throughout my training, my heart hasn’t. So on Sunday, I will push myself to run a faster marathon than I have before. I will remind myself that “every finish is a win.”

Let the taper crazies begin!