Wednesday, December 7, 2016

26.2 with DONNA Training: 11 Weeks to go

Ok, so it's time to jump back into marathon training. I'm using the same 18 week training plan that I used for 26.2 with DONNA last year (Hanson's for those superfans at home), but I've been adjusting it to make sure that I'm healthy. Just so you don't think I am charging into week #8 of training with no regard for the previous 7 weeks, I have been consistently running at least 4 times per week at easy pace for several weeks, basically mimicking a base building phase. On top of that, I even went to my first spin class and though I was a little confused by the whole levels of resistance thing, I got in a solid sweat and rode no hands. So that completes my crosstraining for this training cycle.

Oh and by the way, I have a half marathon this week. Moving on.

Monday: No worse for the wear after my first spin class over the weekend. I enjoyed it and am excited to give it another shot. After trying any new activity, I always expect some sort of response from my body as it adjusts. My quads felt a little sluggish, but no soreness.
Planned: 6 miles easy  Actual: 5 miles easy (9:14/mile)
Tuesday: Not ready for any speed work just yet, but I am getting bored with easy runs, a sure sign that my fitness is slowly starting to return. This one felt like a little more work but it was probably because the humidity was way up due to GA finally getting rain. We've been in a severe drought and the metro hasn't had any rain in over 40 days. On top of that, wild fires are raging in north GA and the air quality has been very poor. But I was glad to pour out a little extra sweat in exchange for some rain.
Planned: 6x800s   Actual: 5 miles (9:14/mile)
Wednesday: I read this great recap from America Ferrera about training for and racing her first triathlon. She shares a lot about her inner dialogue and mantras that helped her through out the process and this quote in particular stuck me. Worth a read.

Planned: Rest   Actual: Rest
Thursday: I decided to toss in a few miles at not easy pace to begin testing how my calf reacted. It was nice to break out of easy running!
Planned: 5 Tempo   Actual: 5 miles (3 miles @8:40/mile)
Friday: Ah, life. I had every intention of getting in this workout, but life got in the way. It happens.
Planned: 5 Easy  Actual: Rest
Saturday: A big and exciting day! For years I've wanted to take the RRCA Coaching Certification Course but logistics always seemed to get in way, mainly that it's rarely is offered in Atlanta. But low in behold, back in March I was able to get into the Chattanooga class and it was finally. I woke up early to get their and time figuring I would squeeze in a run after class, but after sitting for 12 hours and so much learning, I was tired.  I did manage a small hotel room workout, a combo of several of my cross training workouts (something is better than nothing).
Planned: 6 Easy   Actual: Strength activities
Sunday: Woke up early to squeeze in a run before another great day of training. Pro Tip: Hotel gyms are not busy at 6am on a Sunday for some reason so you can have the place to yourself!
Planned: 10 Long   Actual: 3.5 miles (9:14/mile)
How was your week? How do you squeeze in workouts on the road?

Friday, December 2, 2016

A Challenge for December

A classic practice that I fall into is that I often only run. I get in my daily mileage and that's it. I let myself off with the mentality of "well, I already put in X amount of time running. That should do it." I run often enough and tend to keep my mileage in a range that this method leaves me relatively 'fit', but probably not well balanced in terms of strength and flexibility, which are important for both injury prevention and achieving new goals.

So, in the spirit of running streaks that often go throughout the holidays, I've challenged myself to a cross training streak for the month of December. I've tried run streaks before and they really aren't my thing more because I need a day off from running though not necessarily a day off from being active. Also, I don't really need that much help getting myself out the door for a run, but I do need help conning shaming encouraging myself to cross train.
The goal of my month of cross training is to build a better base as I am building up my mileage, and maybe, just maybe, have one of these activities start to stick or become a habit. I've put together a calendar of activities and some of them are fairly small (high chance of success) while others will require a little more effort and planning. I've taken into account any travel I have planned for the month as to make those days achievable while on the road, and I've made some of the items quick activities to prove to myself that there is no excuse for not trying to work them into even the busiest of days. Also, I gave a bunch of the workouts nicknames to make it way funner.
I don't know about you, but when I need a good basic stretching plan,
 I always look to the Fencers.
I threw in the option of a weekly class. I've started trying out new things and I want to continue that. And by started I mean I went to two different exercise classes in the past 5 months, a 200% increase over previous efforts. Due to scheduling, classes can be flip flopped with another day if need be. I pulled a few basic plans to help guide me through stretching, yoga, foam rolling, and core workouts mainly so I focus and don't just sit around googling ideas last second.
So many options! And I was amused that she looks like she is in jeans.
If anyone wants to join me, please do! A challenge is always more fun with friends.
How often do you cross train? What is your favorite form of cross training?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Silver Comet Half Marathon Recap

Silver Comet Half Marathon, Mableton, GA
Field: Less than 1000 runners between the half and full marathons
Spectators: Not many along the trail but there were a few groups at various trailheads along the way and the volunteers were very friendly.
Start/Finish: Starts at the Mableton Amphitheater and finishes at the Floyd Rd Bike Depot.
Course: The first 1.5 miles are on rolling roads and the rest of the course is an out and back on the Silver Comet Trail, a paved rail to trail with 2% grade.
Schwag: Soft cotton t-shirt, medal, and free finisher's photo.
Other: The time limit for the half marathon is the same for the marathon (5.5 hours) so this is a great option for walkers. There is plenty of free parking at the start as well as a free shuttle to/from the finish for any spectators.
As I mentioned last week, build up to this race didn't go exactly as I hoped. Originally I had planned on this race as my goal for the fall to make me super strong and super fit and super crossed trained* setting up for perfect marathon training cycle where every step would feel like magic and I would smile through each mile like some mythical marathon goddess we all hope to be. Cue real life. *Crosstraining was never actually attempted

While many things about training for this race went well (successful integration of speedwork, improved tempo workouts, etc), a misstep moment on training run left me a bit of a nagging calf issue. Combine that with feeling overtired and small family crisis (thanks Hurricane Matthew), and you get a very light month leading into the race. Or as I like to think of it, nailing the taper element of the training cycle.

Going into race day I wasn't really sure what to expect from my body. My last double digit mileage run had been over a month before and my workouts since then had been variable due to everything that was going on. I went in with the goal of running a comfortable push effort (whatever pace that may be), knowing full well that depending how my calf was feeling, I might have to shut it down and turn it into one heck of a nature walk.

I didn't take any pictures prerace as it was the week before the time change and it was so dark that I was just happy I didn't fall in a port-o-john. Prerace I did my usual standing around, trying not to burn calories, and half heartedly stretching because other people were doing it.
While there were no pace groups for the race (it's a very small race), there were pace signs at the start, and I figured the 2 hour group was as good a place as any to start. The course is on roads for the first 1.5 miles before turning onto a paved rails to trails path for the remainder of the race. I decided to tuck in around the 2 hr group for the road portion and see what happened.
Most of the race was pretty uneventful, but here's a short recap of how it went:
  • By the time we got on the trail, I was kind of 'done' with the people that started around the 2 hour sign. No offense to them, but they were super chatting and their conversation topics didn't do anything for me, so I went on about my merry way.
  • In an effort to 'use the aid on the course,' I ran without my handheld only to find the first water stop was well over 3 miles into the race. Thank heavens it wasn't hot because my well tapered self would have suffered.
  • Though the pre-race instructions were a little confusing talking about different aid stations for marathoners and half marathoners (even though it was the same course), volunteers were happy to giving water to whomever needed it.
  • I found a nice group of people to tuck in behind for the second half of the race who were talking about the Kyle Pease Foundation, a group I've always wanted to run with and was happy to learn more about it.
  • No major pains or issues during the race, but I definitely was feeling my lack of fitness in the later miles.
So overall, the race went well. I got to enjoy a few hours of fresh air and fall leaves without any body parts falling off or feeling more injured by the end of it. My time was about 1.5 minutes faster than the half marathon I ran the same weekend last year before starting marathon training and that training cycle went well. Sure, I'd like to have thrown down a faster time and felt 'more ready' to begin marathon training, but it is what it is and it's all a learning process.

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