Marathon Training Recap Week 4: Cold Weather Problems + Bringing Pace into the Equation

MTR-wk-4Last week finally made me feel like I was training for a marathon—in a good way. With the craziness of the holidays behind me, I felt like I fell back into more of a workout rhythm and regained the focus that had scattered between Costa Rica and New Year’s. And with several weeks of training behind me, I’ve now started making pace a consideration during my shorter training runs. With the long runs, to be completely honest, my goal is still just to survive (LOL). I’ve run 12 miles three times in my entire life, so on Monday, I didn’t stress over how long it took me, I just focused on finishing. With the shorter runs though, I’m now seeing mid-range distances that I’ve done before, so I’m making it a goal to improve on my time and push the pace a bit.

MONDAY | 12-mile Run

raynauds-syndrome-handI’ve been dealing with Raynaud’s Syndrome since high school, so you’d think I would have been better prepared for this 12-mile run in 20-degree weather. Nope. I made the really bad decision to wear thin gloves thinking that my body temperature would be high enough to keep my circulation in check, and paid for it. Luckily I was fine the first 10 miles and it wasn’t until the final stretch that my hands started to freak out on me. Lesson learned–I’m wearing heated ski mittens next time it’s below freezing on a run day.

Circulation issues aside, I can’t believe I was able to build up to 12 miles so quickly. I pretty much went from zero to half marathon in a month. Whaaat? The run was slow, but I did it!

TUESDAY | Yoga

I did this 40-minute power flow from the Yoga with Adriene YouTube channel. I’ve been sticking to at-home yoga lately, but just saw YogaWorks in the Back Bay has a Gilt deal running so I’ll probably buy a discounted package and start going there again. I love the instructors at that studio and it’s the next block over from Btone so it’s really convenient.

WEDNESDAY | 6-mile Run

I went back through the RunKeeper app (I have it synced to my GPS watch so that all my runs are stored in there) to see my stats for the 6-mile run I completed a couple weeks ago: 55 min 44 sec with an average pace of 8 min 43 sec. For the first time since I began marathon training, I set a pace goal for this run, wanting to improve on that previous time. Success! runkeeper-marathon-training

THURSDAY | Strength Training (Btone)

This workout almost didn’t happen. I got really sucked into blog work and next thing you know, I look up at the clock at it’s 5PM. I typically don’t like working out in the evenings, but I needed to move and am so glad I took the walk to the studio and did a class.

FRIDAY | HIIT + Yoga

Sometimes I get so focused on creating new workouts for the blog that I forget about the archives of routines I’ve already published. I decided to revisit an old workout and did this 20-minute bodyweight tabata workout. You replace the rest intervals with an isometric hold so it’s super challenging (especially the mountain climbers and push ups–WOOF). I’ve been trying to improve my triceps push ups (push up with your hands in close to your body rather than wide) so this forced some great practice. Afterwards I did this 30-minute Yoga with Adriene YouTube that focuses on stretching. It’s a gentler practice than the one I did on Tuesday.

SATURDAY | Strength Training (Btone) + 3-mile Run with Hill Repeats

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.12.33 AM copyTalk about a productive Saturday! I did a Btone class in the morning and as I was walking home, stopped at the Nike store to get a much-needed new pair of running shoes (more on those later on in the post). Feeling ambitious and wanting to test out the new kicks, I went for a 3-mile run from my apartment to the North End and then did some hill repeats on Charter St. Google Streetview doesn’t do this hill justice. From Commercial Street up to the graveyard on Charter Street is a short but steep hill. Just walking up it will leave you out of breath. I did 3x repeats, running up and jogging down three times in a row, resting and then repeating the set a total of three times. The plan was to then run home to Back Bay but f**k that noise. I took the T home like the dedicated athletic warrior that I am.

SUNDAY | Rest

This was not an active rest day. It was a sit-on-the-couch-and-binge-watch-Netflix kind of rest day. And I loved it! I did do a little foam rolling during my 11th episode of Sons of Anarchy though … if that’s at all redeeming. 😉

Week 4 Summary

What’s Working

  • Rich Roll Podcast | Thanks to a recommendation from my BFF, I’ve started listening to the Rich Roll podcast, which I highly recommend. He’s an alcoholic-turned-ultra-marathoner and has equally inspiring guests on his show. I’ve only listened to a few but my favorites so far are the ones with Kahlil Rafati. Kahlil went from being homeless on the streets of LA addicted to heroin and cocaine, in and out of jail, battling psychosis, to completely turning his life around, now owning a popular chain of organic juice and smoothie bars. I could have listened to him talk all day! My 6-mile run on Wednesday flew by because I was so engrossed in the interview. Kahlil also just came out with a book, I Forgot to Die, which I’ll 100% be reading.
  • New sneakers | I’ve been running in the Nike Free 3.0 for several years now, but it’s not meant for distance running. There isn’t much cushioning to it, so distances beyond 5-6 miles can be hard on the feet. I’ve known this for a while, but stuck with the Free 3.0 because I have ZERO achilles tendonitis flare ups with this sneaker (hallelujah!), and haven’t done much distance running. But my trusty Frees have holes in the toes and are giving me achy feet so it was time to upgrade. I went with the Nike Zoom Pegasus 32 because they still have the lightweight feel of the Free but with the added sole support I need for long distances. Nike gives you 30 days to try them out, so I’m going to see how the ol’ tendonitis is after a couple weeks. If I don’t have any problems, they’ll be a keeper!

nike-pegasus-zoom-32

What’s Not Working

  • My current cold-weather hand gear | I mean clearly. Look at that picture of my hand up above!!! Not ok. Last year for Christmas my dad got me battery-powered heated gloves for snowmobiling and I’m going to dig them out the of the closest for cold runs.
  • The RunKeeper app’s voice | Does the RunKeeper audio cue voice haunt anyone else’s dreams or am I just losing my mind? She over-pronounces everything to the point where I’m not sure if I’m listening to a fitness app or Rosetta Stone. SssssICKs poinnnt ZEE-ro miiii-ULS. Bitch, spit it out, I’m trying to listen to my damn podcast.

On that note, I don’t think it’d be a bad idea for me to incorporate more yoga into my week. Being zen clearly does not come naturally haha.

Any podcast recommendations for me? (I’m obsessed)

Anyone else run in the Nike Zoom Pegasus? Thoughts? Other sneaker recommendations for someone who likes the barefoot feel but needs some cushioning?

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You can donate to my marathon fundraiser benefiting the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired here. I’m giving away awesome prizes over the course of the next few months as a thank you to donors! Next one is coming up Monday. :)

Marathon Training Recap: Prep + Weeks 1-3

Boston Marathon Training Recap: Weeks 1-3Happy New Year! I feel like I’ve been on vacation for an entire month so I’m actually pumped to be back to a regular schedule today. I seriously had no idea what day it was this entire weekend and at one point found myself laying on the couch in my underwear doing a jigsaw puzzle of a cat playing the piano on my iPad while my 14th back-to-back episode of Sons of Anarchy played in the background. If that’s not a sure sign that your vacation has lasted far, far too long, then I don’t know what is.

Anyway, now that I’ve put that lovely visual in your mind…

The traveling and weird holiday weeks didn’t just throw off work and my ability to wear pants, but also my marathon training. Not a big deal at all since I’m still pretty early in the game, but I’ll be happy for the regained structure this week and moving forward. I made sure to never miss a long run, but admittedly a lot of the other intended workouts got deprioritized.

Here’s a recap of my workouts through the crazy holiday month:

Prep Week charles-river-skyline

The week leading up to my first scheduled long run was my chance to gently break the news to my body that, yes, running is going to be a thing again—get used to it.

  • MON | 5 miles
  • TUES | Cross training + yoga (Btone class followed by this 20-min Yoga for Tight Legs YouTube)
  • WED | 4 miles
  • THURS | Cross training (did a rowing + strength workout very similar to this one I posted)
  • FRI | Cross training (Btone class)
  • SAT | 4 miles + yoga
  • SUN | Rest

I felt great during the 5-mile run on Monday and then when I ran again on Wednesday I could tell my legs (calves especially) were like wait WTF are we doing this regularly again?! My lower body felt like led the whole time so I spent a lot of time with the foam roller afterwards. The Saturday run felt much, much better.

Week 1 (in Costa Rica) treadmill-view-westin

  • MON | 6 miles
  • TUES | Active rest (tons of hiking and zip lining)
  • WED | Active rest (again, tons of hiking)
  • THURS | Cross training (bodyweight core workout I’m going to post later today)
  • FRI | Rest
  • SAT | 4 miles
  • SUN | Run + strength circuit (run 1 mile followed by core workout from Thurs x3)

We were SO active from sun up to sun down the first half of our trip in Costa Rica that I didn’t feel the need to workout–nor did I have the time or energy. I’m talking 6AM wake ups, 17 excursions, group dinner and then bed. Our flight didn’t leave until late morning Monday so I was able to sneak in my long run beforehand and the last hotel we stayed at had a small gym, so I got a couple shorter runs in at the end of the trip as well. But shit. I was so quickly reminded of how much I despise treadmills. It got me a little worried about later in the winter when Boston inevitably has snow on the ground and I have to chose between a cold, slippery, miserable outdoor run and a treadmill run.

Week 2 (in New Jersey for Christmas) marathon-training-wk-2

  • MON | Rest (traveling back from Costa)
  • TUES | 8 miles
  • WED | Cross training (Btone class)
  • THURS | Yoga (60-min Yoga by Candace DVD)
  • FRI | Active rest (I spent Christmas morning assembling a trampoline which was a workout in itself haha)
  • SAT | 4 miles
  • SUN | Rest

With more travel, my workouts were again scattered. I was down in New Jersey with Joe’s family for Christmas so it was nice to switch up my running scenery on Saturday. I ran along one of the pretty boardwalks by the Shore.

Week 3 boston-skyline-sunrise

  • MON | 10 miles
  • TUES | Cross training + Yoga (Btone class + 60-min Yoga by Candace DVD)
  • WED | 5 miles
  • THURS | Cross training (Btone class)
  • FRI | Yoga (same DVD)
  • SAT | 3 miles with hillsCross training (I ran a loop around the Boston Commons, hitting the Beacon St. hill repeatedly then did a Btone class)
  • SUN | Rest

We had a wedding in Boston New Year’s Eve so this was the first week pretty much all month that I actually stayed put in Boston. I finally felt like I was regaining some sense of normalcy with my schedule!

Weeks 1-3 Summary

What’s Working

  • Listening to Serial. I know I’m a year late to the game, but instead of putting together a music playlist for runs, I’ve been listening to the first season of the Serial podcast and I’M OBSESSED. Although as I’m reaching the end, I’m starting to worry that there isn’t going to be a definite “Adnan is guilty” or “Adnan is innocent” conclusion and they’re just going to leave it up to you to wonder. I don’t think I’ll be able to handle that. If you’ve already listened, don’t you dare spoil the end for me!!
  • Yoga the day after long runs. I didn’t want to buy a class package at a studio in December knowing I’d be all over the place, so I’ve just been doing DVDs and YouTubes in my apartment. It feels soooo good to work out any stiffness from the previous day’s long run.

What’s Not Working

  • My sneakers. My running shoes have waaaaay too many miles on them and it’s really starting to become noticeable. Top priority this week is getting myself a fresh new pair of sneakers. Should have done this before training even started, but better late than never!

I’ve gotten some marathon input from you guys on Facebook and in the comments section of my training plan post, and am so appreciate! Biggest piece of advice I keep hearing is to do the longer long runs on Saturday mornings along the race course to experience and feed off the energy of everyone else training. Definitely going to do this!

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You can donate to my marathon fundraiser benefiting the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired here. I’m giving away awesome prizes over the course of the next few months as a thank you to donors! The winner of a Fitbit, Daniel Wellington watch & ToeSox gift package will be contacted via email today. :) Thanks for your support!

Running the Boston Marathon: My Training Plan

My training plan for the Boston MarathonI hope everyone who celebrates had an amazing Christmas weekend! I celebrated early with my family in Costa Rica (travel recap post coming soon), and then a few days after getting back to the States, Joe and I drove down to New Jersey to celebrate with his family. It was a crazy-busy, but wonderful couple of weeks!

I wanted to put together this post weeks ago, but with all the travel it’s a little delayed. From here on out, I’ll be doing weekly recaps of my training for the Boston Marathon (probably on Sundays), and am starting it out by sharing my general plan. As you’ll see, it really is just that: a GENERAL training plan.

Major Considerations in Making My Marathon Training Plan

All the following considerations stem from this goal: I want the 2016 Boston Marathon to reignite my passion for running, not make me hate it. I used to love running and then following my first half marathon all but eliminated it completely from my life. I wrote more on that in this post. 

  • When I ran my first half marathon, I definitely over-trained. I had no idea what I was doing when I trained for this a few years ago and just googled “half marathon training schedule” and went with whatever popped up. I was running 5-6 days a week training for that half and it was totally unnecessary. More so than the physical burnout was the mental burnout. I started to dread running by the end. I love variety in my workout routine so this time around I know better than to completely push other fitness to the side in place of running.
  • I’m not trying to set any records. I’m competitive, so to be honest, I will be a little disappointed if I don’t finish in under 4 hours and 20 minutes. But besides that very reasonable goal (reasonable based on my current fitness level), I’m not worried about shattering records here. It’s my first marathon! I don’t want numbers to overshadow the fun of the experience.
  • Being kind to my body and avoiding injury top my list of priorities. Recovery, foam rolling, stretching and yoga are going to be just as important to me these next few months as the actual running. I’m going to pay close attention to running form as well.

My Marathon Training Plan

This is the loose framework I’ll be following the next few months. In reaching a goal, I think it’s important to be both realistic and flexible, which is exactly what this plan is for me!

  • Long runs every Monday following John Furey’s training schedule. One of the perks of running with a charity team is that I get access to a running coach! I’m following Team With A Vision’s coach-made schedule for long runs, with the only change being day of week. I’ve decided to do my long runs on Mondays because my work schedule allows it and I selfishly like to be flexible with my weekends. :)
  • 2 additional shorter runs each week, one incorporating hills. So I’m running a total of three times a week. In talking to Boston vets, everyone seems to say the same thing: hill training is extremely helpful. So while I’m not trying to set any records and am not worrying too much about sprint and tempo workouts, I am going to incorporate regular hill workouts. 1/week is the goal.
  • Yoga at least twice a week. I know how important foam rolling and stretching are following a run, but I also know my tendency to rush through these vital recovery and mobility sessions. Yoga has a slew of benefits, but I’m committing to two classes a week primarily for the forced stretching. I can’t rush through it in a group setting!
  • Continuing my current strength-training regime. Slow-twitch-focused megaformer strength training is an amazing compliment to long distance running, so I’ll be continuing to take 2-3 Btone classes a week. I think it’s important to incorporate the slow with the explosive, so I’ll also continue to do 1-2 HIIT workout(s) each week (what I post on my blog) in addition to a high-intensity group fitness class of choice (you all know I love me some group fitness!).

And there it is! I’ll share specifics of my workouts each week in my recaps (first one summarizing weeks 1-3 coming Sunday), but the above is my general training guide for April 18th. If you’ve run Boston before, I’d love your input! signature

You can donate to my marathon fundraiser benefiting the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired here. I’m giving away awesome prizes over the course of the next few months as a thank you to donors! The winner of a Fitbit, Daniel Wellington watch & ToeSox gift package will be contacted via email today. :) Thanks for your support!