Boston Training Weeks 16-22

The weeks leading up to Boston really flew by and while I kept a pretty good record of all my training in my spreadsheet, I definitely neglected this sweet little blog over here. I’ll try to recap to my best ability, mainly so I have a place to look back on my thoughts on this training cycle.

Week 16- Getting Back on Track

My first full week back after a wonderful Hawaii vacation and a true confidence boosting 8-mile race. The track workout (I like to refer to them as speed workouts since we rarely worked out on the track, but instead on the inner loop of Green Lake) was icy, but I went faster than the prescribed MP -10 pace, which ended up being quite the trend on Mondays.

The tempo this week was inconsistent and my pals dropped off one by one for various reasons, so this was both mentally and physically challenging. I stayed with it and felt accomplished especially after chasing Francis for part of this one.

A strength workout led to my quads being trashed for my 20 miler this week, kind of perfect practice now that I look back on this. The last five miles of this run were really tough, but I think I gave in more mentally then I should have, my body had more to give.

I ran a super fun and easy 10 miles for Sarah Smith’s 40th birthday celebration this week as well which added a decent amount to my weekly mileage, making it the highest week of my entire training cycle at 53.5.

Week 17- Lake Sammamish Half Marathon

I missed a lot of strength training this week and was the start of the end of consistency on that. This is potentially my only worry come race day. That I’m not as muscular as I should be. Regardless this week was very good, I did 3×2 mile at 7:02 pace and I think we dropped into the 6s at some point as well. It was a push but not terribly unreasonable.

The tempo this week was fine, as the woman who swore she WOULD NOT do 10 mile tempos, I lied. I’m actually really happy I did them too. This was a 2×5 with a 1/2 mile easy in between. The second 5 miler was tough and my ankle was bothering me a bit but I made it through faster than marathon GP.

Coming into the weekend with just those miles on my body and having raced sort of recently, I was feeling pretty excited and confident for the 1/2. I wanted to be cautious though and not go all out and peak too early in training. I knew I was going to PR, even if I had stuck to my plan of not going under 7 min/mile pace it would have been a PR. I didn’t feel uncomfortable until mile 8 and breathing got tougher towards the end. I averaged a 6:56 to hit a 3:30:33. It didn’t feel like it a 100% effort which is very encouraging. I felt like I ran smart and tough. It wasn’t totally easy though and I need to remember that, this was still a very good effort to get that time, I had to convince myself to get to mile markers in order to not slow down. It got tough and I got tougher.

I did a little running a little strength the following day.

Week 18- A Semi-Sweet Recovery

I was careful in week 18, taking a beautiful down week to prepare for the upcoming hell week after racing. Ran an easy recovery run with friends around the lake for 9.5 miles at 9:33 pace.

A headache stood in my way on Wednesday and I didn’t run again until Friday. I was able to get some strength and erged a bit. The rest of the week was solo. I ran 6 miles by myself on the old Fleet Feet route which has that killer uphill then on Sunday I went for a 16 miler solo on the Burke. While I do listen to music and podcasts on the solo runs, I think that they’re mental builders for running my own run and pushing myself by myself. My pace on that 16 was pretty good, only a couple miles over 8 and a mountain to climb at the end that I kept in the 9s. This is a run I can look back and be thankful for.

Week 19- Hell Week

This was extra hell-ish because John was traveling for work so I had to do some major adjusting to fit the workouts in and rely on my mother-in-law to help with childcare so I could do the really important work with my training partners. Monday was fast and actually on a track and on the roads in my neighborhood. I didn’t do the prescribed workout due to time constrictions. I did 3×1600 at 6:42, 6:46 and 6:55.  I was disappointed with that last interval and stressed out in general so I’m not surprised this went the way it did.

I was able to shake that off and hit a wonderful 2×5 mile tempo on Wednesday. It took me 3 miles to find the groove but then it clicked! The one mile in between the sets of 5 felt fine and it wasn’t too hard to get started again for the next 5. Eileen and I ran a very solid second half of this workout, I’m so happy that we had each other to stay put in our workout. This was the hardest tempo of this training cycle and we crushed it. I did a little bit extra with 2.6 miles at 10:06 pace with the CLers! The pace of the tempo wasn’t perfect, but with some climbs, a particularly hard one through Ravena that we accomplished in 7:22 in there I think it was another big confidence booster.

I ran a bit, rowed a bit and strength trained on Thursday, skipped Friday’s workout because it was too stressful to try to fit it in and it gave me a little extra rest for the last 20+ run of the cycle. That Log Boom run ended up being incredibly solid. Ran sub 8 for the average and felt really good, even in the last 3 miles where we picked it up a bit. I ran an easy 4 on Sunday to even out the week at 50 miles. As I finished out “hell week” on a very high note and came into week 20 with two recovery days and a mini chest-cold I was just so thankful.

Week 20- The Start of the Wind-Down

I took Monday and Tuesday off because I wanted to and it had always been in my plan to do so. I know how much the long runs can run me down and it wasn’t worth pushing my body harder than necessary.

Totally recovered, I had a very solid tempo on Wednesday. 2 mile warmup 10 miles at MP and 2 cool down. Ravena was slower on this go around, but we worked really hard and we’ll be ready for the Boston hills when they come, these workouts were tough.

The rest of the week was just fun. FLUR at 8 min pace, Long run of 16 at 7:56. And a 30 min erg session at home on Sunday It was all very enjoyable.  As the training cycle winds down I’m just loving the easy runs and the company.

Weeks 21 and 22- The last pieces to the puzzle

The focus was to stay happy, healthy and uninjured. This is some of the boring stuff. No more tempos for me, a little bit of speed work to stay tuned up. 12 miles for a long run and easy, easy, easy for the last week before the race. I’m not feeling any phatom pains or extra restlessness during this taper. A bit of anxiety sure. I’m trying to stay calm, I’m reading mental toughness books and posts to stay in the right mindset and I continue to be both at awe in what I’ve accomplished in training leading up to this week and thankful for the folks who have been supporting me all the way through.

Next post will be on the flipside of the Boston Marathon. I feel like I’m ready. Comparing this training cycle to my 3:25 cycle, I have close to 200 additional miles in the bank, less strength training but more targeted and specific race training. We’ll see how it goes, I’m hoping my brain will stay focused in the last six miles to push through the pain and finish with everything I have in me.

 

Week 9- The Trouble with Travel Weeks

Oh Week 9 of training, I knew you would be a challenging one. I mark out anytime I know I’ll be traveling with purple highlights on my plan. I put in hopeful miles and try to do what I can before I leave for whatever adventure I’m planning. This time it was a cross-country trip to NYC to party with my college teammates and celebrate our coach, Matt Centrowitz. I may write a whole post about the team and the specific experience, but for now, here’s what training looked like for Jan 8-14.

Monday- The Track Workout that Didn’t Happen

So this was a disappointing one for me. I was so excited and nervous to head to my first track workout of this training cycle. I woke up on time, but didn’t have much sleep in me through weird nightmares of the workout that lay ahead. I don’t know what made me so anxious about this workout, but I was ready to face it when I realized I needed to write a blog post for work and get it to my boss so that he would have time to review before we sent it over to CreativeLive to be published. So I spent the morning annoyed that I didn’t do the work over the weekend, and also annoyed that I worried about a workout that I couldn’t complete. I ended up doing a Nike Training Club workout that evening to get just a little bit of work in. I use this app when I’m in a bind, and I’m so thankful that it exists!

Tuesday- Random Run

This was a busy day. It started off with some skiing for my kiddo (proud mom note: he’s back on the chairlift!) My father-in-law dropped me off in time to make a dentist appointment and took over watching Grant. I decided to wear my running clothing to the appointment and headed out for a run on the Burke once it was through. It was SO COLD and windy, I started off fast just to warm-up and then had a hard time slowing down. That resulted in averaging 7:26/mile for 8 miles. Woops. I do not condone running every run fast, and this was a dumb thing to do, especially since the turn-around time to my tempo the next morning meant I wouldn’t have much rest. I thought I’d be running slower on Wednesday… however…

Wednesday- WuW Tempo

Screen Shot 2018-01-20 at 9.47.32 PM.png

The first 1.5 was a warm-up and then we headed on the same flat,fast course I had run on Tuesday for some of the middle miles. I was running the same darn pace for this 6-mile tempo. That 4th mile was mostly downhill, but that 7th mile, ugh. Up through Ravenna in the dark and I was struggling to the max. I’m so thankful that Kathy dropped back to run with me, it was very tough going up the hill to end out that tempo portion before heading into the cool down. Everyone else was good and finished out at 9 miles. I cut out a portion of the cool-down and finished at the Starbucks because I was DONE. I was disappointed but not surprised, basically running back to back tempo runs is not smart training.

Thursday-Treadmill Mistake

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Another facepalm moment here. So after a long day of travel (we had taken the red-eye and arrived at JFK at 6am) and emotional bullshit dealing with my parents, I knew I needed a run. I hopped on the hotel gym treadmill which didn’t have a reading of what mph meant for mins/mile. I figured setting it to 7.9 might not be bad, probably around 8 min mile pace. Come to find out that I was running 7:36s for 3 miles. I wondered why the third mile was feeling tougher than normal and when I got back to my room to tell my husband he knew the math right away. Sigh. Three days of fast running. I just deem this the fast week without the long run.

Friday-Mini-Fancy Hotel Workout

IMG_5180.jpg

After a wonderful time visiting one of my best friends from middle school we made it back into the city. I wanted to give myself a rest day, so I ran 1 mile on the treadmill and used some of the machines in our fancy New York Hotel. I did 3x 10 one armed rows (each arm). 2x 10 plank rows (on my knees for most of them)  and a bunch of hamstring curls with a ball. It was an unstructured strength day, and I was a-okay with that.

Saturday- The Most Fun I’ve Ever Had on a Treadmill

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’ve been wanting to try out a treadmill gym since I found out about them. I love the concept as a person who enjoy group fitness classes and doesn’t terribly mind the treadmill. Mile High Club did not disappoint. While I was sad that my teammate Leah couldn’t make it due to flight delays, I was psyched that my other teammate Catie was able to join me for it. I liked the structure even though it took me a little bit to understand exactly what was going on. Once I realized the order of the intervals I was all in and found myself sprinting at a sub 7 pace. The atmosphere was amazing, the music, the lighting. It was so much fun. I want to open one in Seattle. I just need a business partner and a lot of money.

Sunday- Just Like Old Times

IMG_5236.jpg

After the party on Saturday night, I knew I wanted to do a run on Sunday. A small group of us met in my hotel lobby and headed out for Central Park. It was almost exactly like our college Sunday runs, gathering together, gossiping about the night before, and catching up on anything we missed. Catie and I did the full 6 miles, she and I ran the same event in college (the 800) so we had always trained closely together.  It was almost like no time had passed the way we were able to go on about everything and enjoy the miles together. I wish we lived closer so that we could relive these Sunday runs more often. While it was very cold (hovering around 17-20 degrees!) and I was incredibly thankful for being able to go home to Seattle and our wonderful 40-degree weather, I wouldn’t give up running through Central Park for anything. I’m hopeful that I get into the NYC Marathon via the lottery for 2018, the city has so much magic.

While the week did not include a long run, all the fast stuff pretty much made up for that. I think it was kind of stupid training, too much speed done all in one week, with minimal rest. I know better, and also know to give myself some credit for getting so much done while traveling. Balancing and consistency will get me to the finish line. And I know this because my Coach taught me it long ago. I’m so incredibly lucky that I had such a positive college running experience and that I’m still friends with my teammates. I wouldn’t have missed Coach’s event for the world, and despite having a weird training week, it was still good work put in that built some confidence in what my body can do under stress.

 

Week 8- New Year, New Me? Naw…

Kicking off a new year and continuing into my 8th week of training felt both refreshing and deliberate. I’ve never been big on resolutions, I’m a goal-oriented person, and since my goal for Boston has been set for over 2 months, nothing really feels like it’s changed. I pretty much forget to wish people a happy new year because I’m so set in my routine! For now, consistency is reigning supreme.

Monday

IMG_4973-1.jpg

A solo run seemed like the right way to start off the year. Running brought me a lot of joy in 2017, especially as the world seemed to turn upside down, and while the majority of my runs are with friends, it felt good to explore the new arboretum path on my own. I went for an easy 4 miles with the added challenge of making it up the Madison St hill from the arboretum. I almost made it all the way up without stopping!

Tuesday

Adobe Spark (7).jpgThis workout ended up thrashing my hamstrings, which isn’t a bad thing normally, but I had a tempo scheduled for the next day. You may see where this is going.

Wednesday

Wake up Wednesday, came around, and I was still hurting. No one else was doing the tempo, soo… I skipped it. Ack. Yes. Went off the plan. I knew I wanted to get the mileage in at least so I ran 3 miles early with Morgan and Eddie, then ran 6 with a new running buddy and Steve. We were leading the pack in 8:15s. I know I need to run faster on this mid-week run, but my sore legs were happy with this effort.

Thursday

Adobe Spark (8)

This was a pretty short and sweet workout. Presses are hard but I’m happy that I’m working on them.

Friday
I love my bootcamp Fridays! It’s such a fun time to get in some strength work and try new movements. This particular Friday the coach had us do a Chipper, we could do any of the exercises in any order, just had to get all the reps done. Afterwards, she had us do an 8min ab routine that nearly broke my abs apart. It was awesome.

Saturday
IMG_5040.jpg
Decided between 12 and 14, Kathy was going 14 so many of us decided to do the same. Great group to run with, we got a little lost but it didn’t matter at all, we were having fun getting these tough up-hill miles in.

Sunday
I did two little recovery runs. One with my old SRC group as part of our bRUNch, in celebration of all the “goat” (aka Capricorn) birthdays and a 1 miler from the gym after a this little workout.

IMG_5057.jpg
Adobe Spark (9).jpg

So there’s not too much “new me”to start off the year. Just consistent me. Doing my thing, getting the work in, hoping that I can stay ontop of it for the rest of the season!

Week 7- Staying on Target

Another week that flew by (Dec 25-Dec 31). It was relatively uneventful even though it was a holiday week. I’m so thankful that my in-laws live a mile from my house, making it very easy to stay in Seattle and celebrate with them.

Monday- Christmas break! 

While Monday marked the 16 weeks until Boston mark, it was also Christmas day. It’s sometimes hard for me to leave my 3-year-old when I want or need to go run, so Christmas was all about him and spending time together as a family. Runs come and go, and I might not be able to have running forever, but family is everything.

Tuesday- Strength work

Week 7 Tuesday Strength workout

I was feeling like all my 1 rep max numbers were way off, I guess I was being pretty conservative with my perceived strength. So I decided to take Week 7 to find my true one rep maxes. I started with the deadlift on Tuesday.

Wednesday- WuW

My first real workout of this training cycle provided by the Seattle Greenlake Running Group Marathon Training folks.  I am so beyond thankful for Kathy and Bruce, who run this group. I appreciate them for all the effort they put in to help keep the marathon group ontop of our training. I only use their tempo workouts (and soon their track workouts!) and have written the rest of my plan myself, but these tempos are important. This particular workout went really well. It was a progressive run, we started off with a mile and half of warm-up, then cut-down to slightly faster than marathon pace. It felt so slow to start but later Stoneway kicked my butt. I was happy I was able to stick to a fast last mile for this progression. I didn’t feel confident enough to run 6×7:26, so this was a happy medium for this day.

Thursday- Strength

Strength Day 1 RM for Back Squat
back squat 1 rep max plus other work

After a tempo, this was tough to wake up for, but I knew I wanted to find my back squat 1 Rep Max. I did some glute and arm work and called it goo.  Sometimes these 1RMax attempts take longer than I anticipate. I’m happy I have a new number to work off of for my back squat, I love accuracy.

Friday- Bootcamp

So good! got some great core and shoulder work in today. I may be on repeat on this, but I’m just loving this bootcamp, I get a good workout that I don’t have to think about programming myself, it’s not too hard, but also not too easy. It’s not competitive at all and everyone in the class is super nice. I also found out that the teacher of the Friday class is from the same hometown of one of my college teammates. Such a small world.

Saturday- Last 26.2 of 2017

Running Selfie
blurry pic while on the run, had just put in the headphones and was enjoying some down hill fun

It was somewhat of a last minute decision to join in on this fun. Because it was a free race put on by my group, and it was replacing the regular long run for the week, I thought it wouldn’t do any harm to jump in if I could find a partner to run the second half of the race for me. People were splitting up the distance in all fun different ways, but I just needed 12 miles for the week, and was willing to add 2 extra miles to make up for where the course would leave me. I had a blast doing this. I started off easy, but then there were all these wonderful downhills to zoom down. I ended up leading the race for a bit, then a couple of guys came through and took the lead, I chased them down some more and we stayed in a pack of about 4. It was fun. I passed off the slap bracelet to my partner so that he could continue the race for us, we ended up placing 4th. I was so happy that John and Grant came to pick me up and take me out to eat near my finish afterwards, I ended up running an average of 7:43 pace for 14 miles, so I was a little beat.

Sunday- Rest

A beautiful rest day after my “race”. I thought this would be good before taking on the Ragnar Relays 31 days of working out challenge that they’re holding. While I will have “rest days” each week during my training, I’m going to be making an effort to do some exercise everyday to qualify for this challenge. A winner gets a free relay entry, so that’s motivating, even though I’m not totally sure I’m ready to captain another relay team again!

 

Steps to Creating my Own Training Plan

Planning to plan, that’s where it begins. Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

I don’t know about you, but for me, the only way to start a new running season or training cycle (I use the terms interchangeably) is to plan it. After working on building mileage and some speed this summer, I took a short break to re-set, and recharge. I’m now back into marathon training mode, so a couple of weeks ago I decided to create a 22-week training plan for myself. This is how I went about it.

How I go about creating a plan

I first take a look at my last training cycle and see how it could improve. I dig deep into mileage, splits and see what’s lacking.

I then highlight weeks when I’m away from home. It’s rare that I’ll take on a spur of the moment trip, so I have a good idea of when I’m out of town so I can pack in miles early in a week if I think it will be too hard to train while on the road. Ideally, I carve out time during a trip to complete my mileage.

I work both forwards and backward. Once I count out the weeks to the goal race I throw in some potential tune-up races or test races so I have a good measure of my fitness and can turn my racing brain on. I fill in my “hell week” where I know I’ll be peaking and then schedule my taper.

I make special note of my 20milers to make sure they stand out and I don’t miss them. I usually only run 2-3 20milers in any one training cycle. I currently like to keep low mileage. I averaged 25 miles a week when I ran a 3:25 marathon. For my last Boston (the one where I crashed and burned) I averaged 14. SO, that tells me that I certainly can’t eek by on super low mileage but I can succeed with an amount that would typically seem very low. For this current road to Boston, I’m looking at 30-35 miles for my average, topping out at 50 miles in week 19 of my 22-week plan.

From here I sketch out a plan that feels right. I create hard weeks and easy weeks. This time around, I am planning my own strength training versus leaving it to the whim of my CrossFit gym and cherry picking. My goal is to get to my strength gym three times a week (Tuesdays, Thursday and Sundays) and go to a class once a week (be it CrossFit or a bootcamp).

Finally, I give myself a grace period. When I first started thinking about Boston, I figured I could take a long-ish fall break and start training in January. Because of some non-serious races I scheduled awhile ago, it won’t work out that way, so I’ve decided these first 4-6 weeks of training have some leeway. Once I hit week 7 (which will be 16 weeks until Boston) I’ll need to be more closely buckled down into the plan. These first few weeks I’m playing with the plan, doing research on strength training and reconfiguring miles as I feel appropriate. I’ll  be tagging along with Wednesday tempos and track Mondays with SGLRG, and I’ve given a rough estimate to some of those miles but will need to tweak it as I see their plan.

Nothing can go worse than last year’s training cycle (see 14 mile average…) so now that I have that mistake behind me, and I’m feeling fresh from a light summer of moderate mileage I know I can tackle this plan. Stay tuned for weekly re-caps as I work my way through it!

*Important side note. While I am RRCA Certified and have my CrossFit Level 1 and Level 2 Trainer Certificates I’m using my own experience, weaknesses, and strengths to make this plan. I am essentially self-coaching. I will publish this to give you a look at how I do it, but in no way recommend that you follow this exact plan.*

My new running blog

Those who have known me for awhile know that I’ve been in and out of fitness blogging for about 6 years. What started as a blog about a runner doing CrossFit resulted in a lot of wonderful friendships and some pretty cool connections that allowed me to run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon for free and get some pretty cool gear along the way. It also resulted in something of a scandal with a company (okay, perhaps scandal is too dramatic, though “disagreement” doesn’t exactly cover it…), which started to sour my feelings about combining my love of fitness and writing. Feeling like I was shilling and not representing how I truly felt also came to a head when it just didn’t seem worth it anymore and then a new job got busier and I didn’t leave a lot of extra room for writing.

My Blog History

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 11.09.13 PM
My first official non anon blog on posterous (I love the wayback machine for these screengrabs!)
Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 11.04.49 PM
I moved over to tumblr eventually and renamed the blog about 5 times, it actually sort-of still exists.
Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 11.25.23 PM
I then created a wordpress for a while, I hate this website name, a lot.

I’ve continued writing, sometimes for other blogs, like here and here.

There’s something about the accountability of a blog that is bringing me back to it in a serious enough way to purchase a new url and work on wordpress again. I also know I want to have a place to share my other thoughts, I’ve had a running list of topics that I haven’t been smart enough to write down but will in the near future.

Expect to mainly see my training for the Boston Marathon here. When I first started blogging it was because I was brand new to CrossFit and wanted to document that experience. Now I’m brand new to programming my own strength regime. I’m going to mix in the occasional CrossFit class and will be doing a bootcamp once a week, but will focus on runner specific lifts for the rest of my strength training. Training through a Seattle winter is a dark and rainy experience, writing will help me stick to it this time around, given how my race went last year, I know that’s imperative to feeling successful in Boston!