Posts Tagged ‘Marathon Training’

Hey there!

How’s everyone’s week shaping up?  Any exciting plans for the weekend?

My week has been great!  I’m super excited about all the fun events and parties I have planned over the next month.  Nothing big planned for the weekend, I’m returning to crossfit on Saturday and I’m hoping to finish my Christmas shopping this weekend! 

Thanks for all the well wishes and positive feedback regarding the marathon!  I really appreciate it; the entire experience has been extremely humbling and rewarding. 

That being said, I’m unsure if I’ll run another marathon. 

I would love to run another marathon, but would not like to train for another marathon.  Running a marathon is not difficult; it’s the training that’s extremely demanding. 

Yet rewarding…

I learned a lot about running and myself while training for Philly.  Not only did I run 26.2 miles but I was able to overcome the mental struggles that plagued so many of my runs and races.  I haven’t completely conquered the self-doubt (and never will), but I’m now able to better identify its onset and stop it before it derails my run/day/work presentation.  

This is the first race I had ever followed a professional training plan for.  Before this, my training plan was always simply run; get in miles when you can, do your best.  I’ve never done tempo runs or speed work as part of a training plan (I didn’t for this marathon either), but I would love to try and see what the results would be. 

Come to think of it I’ve actually never done a tempo run and I’m not even 100% sure what they are, but I’m going to look into it and maybe try one. 

When I crossed the finish line my first thought was that I loved running (despite being bored with it just minutes before), I loved the way it allowed me to push myself and how accomplished it made me feel.

And immediately I started thinking of things I would love to improve on, my form, my speed.  I would love to train for a half marathon focusing on my speed and crushing my half marathon PR.  (I’d also like to improve on giving myself a break and enjoying my accomplishments). 

I want 1:50 1:45.

And I fully plan on achieving it in 2013. 

Spring half marathon anyone?!

Marathon training forced me to reestablish my running comfort zone, what was once the edge is now dead center.


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72 hours from now I’ll be running the streets of Philly.  And hopefully 76 hours from now I’ll have completed my first marathon.

I’m starting to get a little more excited, and a little nervous.  And a feeling I can only describe as a sense of calmness?!

That doesn’t really make any sense. 

The only time I’ve ever described myself as calm was on opposite day, and I haven’t had one of those in a while.  (I think the last one coincided with the last time someone said “time out” and everyone froze…you know the good old days)

It’s almost as though my over analyzing, type A self has come to terms with the fact that this is most likely going to hurt but I can handle it.  And that’s that, no if ands or buts.  No need to plan for what I’m going to do if when I hit the wall?!  How about my hamstring, no strategy for that?    

I haven’t packed yet nor have I checked the weather (though I’m extremely tempted too now that I’ve realized this, typically I would have started stalking weather.com 10 days out checking for updates hourly).  I do however have a list of what I need to pack (I love making lists). 

Apparently marathon training is ego altering?!?! 

Despite all of this, I have been preparing for the up-coming jog by carbo-loading, hydrating and working on my hamstring.   

There has been lots of foam rolling, and tiger tailing.  I’ve been icing and using Icy Hot strips, which are nothing short of amazing. 

Tuesday night I attended a hot yoga class.  Up until I got in the heart of marathon training I always looked at yoga as a reset button.  Regardless of what I put my body through or how stressed out I was when I walked out of the yoga studio (after a class obviously) I felt renewed.  The last few yoga classes I had been too did not render this result, I’d feel a little bit better but mostly defeated. 

While some of the positions hurt (I will forever hate tree pose!) and I felt out of shape the class was just what I needed.  My legs felt so loose and refreshed when I left, it was pure bliss.  I could barely keep up with how fast my legs wanted to move. 

So I did what any “smart person” would do and joined Ali and Maureen for a run early Wednesday morning.  It was a risky in that this run could either make or break my hamstring this weekend.  I decided the run would help me gauge (looks like I haven’t completely lost my over analyzing abilities!) whether or not I’d be able to run the full marathon or drop down to the half.

Facing reality isn’t always one of my favorite things to do, I prefer to over analyze how I can change things around, and make it sound pretty by referring to it as being optimistic. 

Sometimes you need to ease yourself into the reality that the goal you’ve been training for the last 18 weeks might be a little (or 13.1 miles) out of reach.

The 4 mile run, the last of my training schedule, went well.  My hamstring was tight/sore but absolutely bearable and it seemed to loosen up a bit towards the end of the run. 

While it didn’t feel as fabulous as I had hoped, it gave me a confidence boost that I’ll be able to complete the entire 26.2 miles.

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Up until 2 weeks ago all I could think about was the marathon, and now to be honest, I could care less.  I used to wake up in the middle of the night thinking of something that I needed to pack, or a race detail that I wanted to look up. 

Or in a panic that I missed the race, or showed up at the wrong race. 

I’m certainly not complaining about sleeping through the night, but I wish I felt a little excitement.

While the break from the over analyzing everything has been much welcomed, there is the reality that, I’m not excited for this marathon.

I’m not nervous either.

I’m indifferent. 

I’ve been trying to psyche myself up for it, but I can’t. 

I’ve been reading other bloggers marathon re-caps, and while they pump me up for a few minutes the desired effect is short-lived. 

All the while I’ve remained positive and haven’t stressed out (I’m considering it a victory of sorts that I’m not stressing about not being stressed out). 

This could benefit me.  Maybe the lack of excitement will help me stay calm at the start and I won’t go out to fast.  There’s the possibility it’ll keep me from getting ultra-competitive with myself.  Perhaps it’ll keep me from over analyzing ever small detail, which will keep me relaxed and less stressed. 

Wouldn’t it be cool if this cool as a cucumber attitude was matched with 8 9 minute miles across the board?!

But…of course there is a but.

My marathon training hasn’t gone exactly as planned the last month. 

In an effort to stick with the positive attitude let’s just say I’m really good at tapering. 

I ran a whopping 7 miles this week.   My left hamstring isn’t in good shape, it sore.  Some days it feels fine and doesn’t bother me, other days I’ll get shooting pains while sitting still or lying in bed. 

I wouldn’t describe it as tight, but nagging.  It’s tolerable but does a number of my mental state. 

Monday morning I met Ali for a 4 mile run.  We chatted and the miles flew by, my legs still felt like lead, but it didn’t feel as though I had to put in too much effort to propel myself forward. 

Tuesday morning I set off for 6 miles, but didn’t make it too far before my hamstring acted up.  I headed home and spent the time reserved for running devoted to the foam roller instead.

While at work Tuesday afternoon I got a horrible cramp in the right calf that didn’t go away until Thursday/Friday.


Saturday morning I took off for the recommended 8 mile run, I got a mile and a half in before turning around due to hamstring pain.  I debated finishing the run just to prove I can do it, but in the end decided it wasn’t worth it. 

I didn’t want to be out there running.  I’m tired of pushing myself to run.

So I turned around and went home. 

I was stressing myself out as to whether or not I’d be able to run the marathon.   The run was turning ugly fast. 

I distracted myself from dealing with this reality all weekend.  After the failed run on Saturday I got ready, threw clothes in a bag and high tailed it up to Maine for a friend’s wedding.  I spent the afternoon and evening dancing and ignoring the pain in my hamstring.  Sunday I went to brunch, then went and met a couple of rescue dogs before heading home. 

Last night I finally admitted to myself that 26.2 miles might not happen this week.  I’m still preparing this week as though I will run the marathon.

And I absolutely will run this weekend, it just might be the 13.1 distance instead. 

I ran 4 miles yesterday morning, it was a good run, after 10 minutes my leg loosened up.  I’m hoping for the same result on Sunday. 

My training schedule calls for a 2 and 3 mile run, I’d like to keep to that schedule but we’ll see.  I’m going to add a couple of yoga classes as well as lots of foam rolling and icing. 

That’s where I stand 5 days before my first attempt at running a marathon. 

Not exactly where I wanted to be, but standing none the less.

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I had an incredible weekend. 

Friday night, for the first time in two months, I went out after work.  I met Jen and Julie at the Harpoon brewery for a tasting to benefit YES.  It felt great to spend the evening talking and drinking with others instead of hanging out on my couch preparing for a long run in the morning. 

I only needed to log 12 miles this weekend, which didn’t seem like much compared to the miles completed the previous Saturday mornings.  I had more confidence in my ability to run 12 miles after a couple of drinks than I did in my tired legs. 

So I let loose for a little bit.  Not too long though I was still in bed by 10:30! 

Saturday morning I got up ran some errands and attended a painful but much-needed yoga class.

Saturday night was our annual Friends Thanksgiving (more details to follow tomorrow), good conversation, great food, amazing friends and tons of laughs. 

Sunday morning I woke up with sore legs, I had no desire to run.  I made myself breakfast and tea and parked myself on the couch watching the news Friends.  I started scrolling through Facebook and caught word of a couple of friends running locally to benefit those affected by hurricane Sandy.

I felt guilty. 

As of right now, the marathon I’m training for is still on.  And yet I wasn’t training for it. I had no reason to be sitting on my couch, when I could be running. 

I made a deal with myself, I wasn’t going to push myself to log the 12 suggested miles, but I needed to run 6.  And I had to enjoy it.  This run wasn’t going to be about logging miles this run was going to be about enjoying the miles. 

I had no reason not to do so.

I laced up my sneakers, grabbed my iphone (which never comes on runs) and headed out. 

I did my typical favorite run, I head down to the Charles River and run the loop between the Museum of Science and the Mass Ave Bridge. 

Door to door this loop is 5.8 miles.  Sometimes I call it 5, others I call it 6.  I figure in the grand scheme of things the miles will all even out. 

Regardless of the time of day, or year for that matter, you’ll always run runners along the Charles.  During the spring, summer and fall the river is packed with runners after work. 

I love being out there, being a part of the running community.  I love feeling of cruising by, moving faster than the parking lot that is Storrow Drive at rush hour.  I absolutely love the first few days that hint of spring the paths along the river are filled with locals out for their first run of the season.   

You just know there are a lot of empty treadmills throughout the city. 

I’ve ended a few of my longer runs on this loop, I like the familiarity of it.  I know what it feels like to complete this route, I know what to expect.  This route provides a sense of comfort when running 18 or 20 miles.   

Sunday morning I finally did what I’ve wanted to do for so long, take pictures of the beautiful views from the loop. 

The run was slow, but amazing.  I soaked in the views, I snapped over 30 pictures with my iphone, I rocked out to the Ja Rule station on Pandora. 

I won’t burden you with 30 pictures but I’ll share some of my favorites:

Dock near Community Sailing. While running at night it’s typical to see people hanging out on this dock watching the sunset. The Mass Ave Bridge is off in the background.

Perfect tree for a beginner tree climber!

Mass Ave Bridge from the Boston/Storrow side of the river

View of downtown Boston from the Mass Ave bridge.

Running under the Zakim Bridge by way of the new footbridge connecting Charlestown to Cambridge.

View of the Zakim Bridge and Boston Garden from Paul Revere Park in Charlestown

 Half way through the run/photo shoot I came across a couple of girls setting up a water station.  I stopped to talk to them.  One of their friends was supposed to run the NYCM, instead he had gathered some friends and they were running to raise money for the Red Cross, the girls weren’t runners so they set up a water/fuel station to support and cheer for their friends.

I snapped a picture of them but it didn’t come out.  Well it did, but they’re positioned behind my finger. 

The loop took me an hour and twenty minutes, by far the slowest I’ve ever run it. 

More often than not I get sucked into crossing things off my to-do list that I forget to look around and enjoy the experience.  I get competitive with myself, seeing how much I can accomplish in a day, I lose track that the purpose of a day isn’t to see who can get the most done.

I’ve spent the last 16 weeks training for a (hopefully) sub 5 hour race.  While the marathon will be an experience in and of itself, the training runs shouldn’t be discarded along with my completed to-do list. 

They are far superior than making my bed or lunch for the next day.

I’ve never run a race with the intension of finishing first.  I run for the experience, the pride of finishing, and the challenge of pushing myself.  Sometimes, more and more often lately, I get caught up thinking how cool it will be to be able to consider myself a Marathoner.

That’s not the purpose of the why I’ve been running my butt off for the past 16 weeks. 

Running a marathon should be a lot like going to college, the main goal is to finish/graduate, but the best parts often happen inbetween when you sign up and when you finish. 

This run reminded me that when you lace up your sneakers there are other exciting experiences to savor besides crossing the finish line.

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Ahhhhhh the first week of taper.  Felt like anything but…

I’ve missed a good deal of week day miles this month, some due to good reason, others not so much.  I honestly believe that I needed to take some time off and give my body a break.  I don’t think I’d be in such great spirits or confident in my ability to finish 26.2 miles if I hadn’t given myself a break. 

The extra days off allowed me to nail my 18 and 20 mile runs and restored my ability to be able to run for such a distance.

After running 20 last Saturday, I hit 23 of the suggested 29 miles.  Not perfect, but I didn’t see any benefit in pushing myself 2 weeks before the race. 

Knowing when to listen to your body vs your training schedule is key. 

Stormy weather Monday and Tuesday left for extra rest days.  Despite 3 consecutive days off my legs were dead tired when I hit the streets on Wednesday. 

Monday: Rest day due to hurricane Sandy

Tuesday: When leaving my condo my neighbor informed me that there were going to be intense thunderstorms brought on by the tail end of Sandy.  I retreated back into my home and completed the upper body segments of Jillian Michael’s no more trouble zones DVD and some extra abs. 

During the workout I heard water rushing into my condo, I panicked thinking something burst in the unit above me and my place was going to flood.  Luckily, the rushing water was the sound of the pouring rain outside and not in my place.

Wednesday: 6 mile run.  I anticipated the run feeling easy, breezy beautiful.  It was anything but, my legs felt like lead.  I was shuffling along but it felt as though I was picking my feet up extra high.  There was a lot of debris on the ground so I could have been kicking up higher than normal in an effort not to trip.  

Thursday: 8 miles.  While it felt great to be outside running, the run felt very labored.  I thought I should be moving along much faster for the effort that I was putting forth.  At one point running up the slightest incline felt as though it was taking way too much effort. 

Shortly thereafter I got a cramp in my side.  I decided to try a trick I had read on another blog, instead of beginning to walk right away, count to 100 and if it still hurts after that try walking. 

If there is anything more boring than running for 4+ hours, it’s counting while doing so.  I got to 35 and got board of counting.  I stopped counting, but not running. 

I was proud that I never got discouraged during the run and I promised to better space out my runs the following week. 

Friday: 4 extremely slow miles.  I’m not even sure if this movement qualifies as a run, but I’m counting it. 

I took the 4 miles to reflect on my training, I acknowledged that Saturday mornings 12 mile run would not be pretty and decided that if I couldn’t complete the 12 miles I wouldn’t.  At this point there is no use in hurting myself 2 weeks before the race. 

Saturday: Saturday morning I decided that attending a yoga class would be far more beneficial than trying to log 12 miles on my 4th consecutive day of running.  The class sucked.  I felt extremely stiff, I wasn’t able to I wasn’t able to hold poses for too long at my quads, hamstrings and glutes were in a protest.  There was a lot of shaking in high lunge. 

I wasn’t able to relax as most of my energy was spent sending reminders that this was the best thing for my tired legs. 

After the class was over I felt a million times better and my body did feel a bit more nimble. 

Sunday: Run recap to follow!

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Saturday October 27th 2012 marked my 30th birthday.

It also marked the first time I ran 20 consecutive miles.

30 is the new 20 after all…

In an effort to get the most out of my 24 hours I got up bright and early at 5:30 and began my pre-run routine.  English muffin with peanut butter and banana, washed down with some water (still can’t stomach Gatorade).  Apply a tube of Body Guide and get dressed. 

My plan was to wear the outfit I’d be running the marathon on just to ensure there were no issues. 

Of course nothing is that easy.  I have a pair of grey running capris that I love, I’ve worn them on my last two long runs and the runs have gone great.  So now they’re my lucky running capris and will be joining me to run the marathon. 

If the 20 miles didn’t go so well then the pants would be associated with a bad run. 

Then what would I wear for the marathon? 

I’ll be honest, this reasoning seemed more logical at 5:30am. 

I decided to test my luck and where the grey capris.  (In case you’re wondering the pants have been washed between runs.   I’m superstitious not dirty.)

When I start doubting myself and my ability during the race, I’ll be able to remind myself that I’m wearing my lucky pants and they were made to run 26.2 miles. 

(Ed. Note: they’re actually yoga pants so they were made for downward dogs not 26.2 miles.)

When standing at the starting line there is a confidence in knowing that your iPod is ready to go with your favorite tunes, you have your favorite fuel, your sneakers are tied tight and you’re wearing your lucky favorite race gear.

I’m going to need all the confidence I can get on November 18th.

My sister met me at my place and we stuck to our Castle Island run, finishing along the river to get in the extra miles. 

The 20 miles went really well, there were your typical miles where I felt as though I could run forever and miles where I didn’t think I could go another step.  We powered through and ran the entire 20 miles. 

One of my goals for the marathon is to run as much of it as possible, I’d ideally like to be able to get up to mile 22 before having to take a walking break.  That being said, I do plan to walk through the water stations, especially those in the later miles. 

My legs felt strong up until mile 19, at that point I struggled trying to convince myself that I didn’t need to walk.  I kept telling myself I was almost done, because I was, and just to hold on.  Less than half a mile later I felt strong again and was able to pick it up for the end of the run. 

The hardest part of the long runs is how boring running becomes.  We ran without music until about mile 14 when we got to the river, and finished the final 6 with our iPods.

This is the first long run where we both ran with music at some point. 

The music offered a slight distraction, but it was still boring.  I kept on trying to focus on all the fun things I was going to do the rest of the day.  If the rest of my day was going to be super exciting surely I could appreciate some down time. 

We finished the run in just under 3 hours and 20 minutes or a 10 minute mile pace.  Which is roughly my marathon dream pace. 

I’m trying to not get ahead of myself and begin dreaming of a sub 4:30 marathon.  While the 20 miles felt good, it wasn’t by any means easy.  I still have to somehow add a 10k on the back of those 20 in order to cross the finish line.

I have no idea what’s going to happen during those last 6.2 miles.  Will my body be able to handle it? Will it be able to handle it mentally?  What mile am I going to encounter the dreaded wall? 

The main purpose of this marathon is to have fun and finish.

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The last week before the taper begins, time to leave it all out on the roads, take no prisoners, run until your legs fall off.

Or not. 

My training scheduled called for 2 5 mile runs and a 10 mile run.  My plan was to split the 10 miler up and do 5 miles before work and 5 miles after work on Tuesday.  And run 5 after work two of the other nights.

Monday I left work early because I was sick, I spent the night on the couch and was in bed by 8pm.

Tuesday: My alarm went off bright and early Tuesday morning, only I had slept on my leg funny and now had no feeling in it.

My plan was to lay there until the feeling in my leg returned, which it had when I woke up for the second time a little after 6am.

Tuesday night I was able to lace up after work and get 6 miles in.  The run felt very forced and slow.  I felt as though everyone was passing me running along the river.  It was a weird run; it felt very forced and slow yet easy at the same time.   My legs were really tired and I felt as though I was working really hard, but I was enjoying the run.  I wasn’t fighting it, my breathing was great I felt as though I could carry on a conversation and the views of the city at night over the water were amazing.  I was shocked when I got home and saw that only 53 minutes had passed since I left the house, meaning I was running close to an 8 minute mile. 

Wednesday: A morning run was out of the question.  However after I got up I realized there was no way I was going to get all the miles in that I needed (at this point I had concluded that running 3 six mile runs would get me very close to the 20 that was suggested for the week and that would be my best bet).

Wednesday night I got out of work late and by the time I got home it was already dark.  I debated lacing up and staying on well-lit streets (which is fairly easy in a big city), but I’ve completely freaked myself out that something is going to happen to me while running in the dark. 

So Wednesday night was out.

As was Thursday morning.

And I had plans Thursday night.

So that leaves Friday.

How stupid would it be to run 6 miles the night before running 20?

It would be great practice for actually running 26 right?!?!

Missing 8 miles sounds a lot better than missing 14.  On the week that is supposed to host the most miles of your training.

When I got home from work I put on running clothes and stretched out.  I really wanted to get the miles in, but was scared of risking injury for a couple easy miles.  In the end I ended up going grocery shopping and cleaning my condo instead of running. 

Saturday: 20 miles.  Run recap to follow.

Sunday: Rest Day.

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