As of the end of Week 2 we are at 14 weeks until race day! It definitely is going to be here before we know it but I’m feeling good about where I’m at right now. I think so far I’m doing a good job of adding a little more volume than I have in the past while also making sure I’m rested for key workouts. This week was a little less mileage but more intensity.
AM: In the morning I ran 6 easy miles (Zone 1-2) with Asia and finished the workout with 4 x 8 second hill sprints.
AM: I could really tell I needed yoga after the previous week’s training and had hoped to get it in Monday night but ended up working too late. So I got up early (but not that early thanks to P90X3’s 30 minute workouts) and did P90X3 yoga. I didn’t regret it for a second because I felt 100% better afterward!
PM: After work I met up with Mike at Torrey Pines for one of our key workouts for the week. The workout was a 1 mile warm-up followed by 6 x 3 minute hill repeats up the steepest grade of Torrey Pines (about 8% grade). I wore my heart rate monitor and my heart rate was well into Zone 4 for all 6 repeats. My legs AND my lungs were burning. The recovery was just a jog back recovery and then we wrapped it up with a mile recovery jog to the car. The sun was setting during our workout and although it was painful, it was beautiful! Both Mike and I finished the workout with a good case of Runners High.
Rest Day – Girls night happy hour in the evening
I got up to run in the morning but ended up going back to bed (the previous night’s girls night happy hour was lingering). It worked out better because both Mike and Asia were able to join me for my evening progression run. The workout was not supposed to be intense. It was 8.4 miles with the final 4.2 miles at “moderate” pace. Surprisingly, my legs felt amazing on this run. They felt even better once we turned around and started to pick up the pace. I was easily running low/mid 8 min/miles and it did not even feel close to hard. By the end, i was cruising at a 7:30 pace and Asia and Mike were both telling me that this was no longer “moderate” but I felt great! My legs were light, my breathing was manageable. It was one of the best runs I’ve had in a while and I finished feeling refreshed and energized and ready for more.
AM: 5 mile easy run. I was proud of myself for getting up for this one! My friend Allison canceled on me last minute and I was SO tempted not to run but got up anyway.
At lunch I headed back to the Club Pilates studio near my office. It was just me and one other girl, as I can only assume most people were either taking the day off or had a short day because of the long holiday weekend. This again was the Level 2.5 pilates class so it was EXTRA hard, especially since there were only two of us. There seemed to be a focus on leg and glute work and I left the class wondering how this would affect my long run the next day!
This was the big one! The aspect of my training plan that most drew me to it, and also most scares me about it, is that a lot of the long runs contain significant portions at or close to goal marathon pace. I firmly believe that these training runs do more mentally for me than any other run and Brad Hudson also firmly believes that these kinds of runs prepare you for the marathon better than any other. Saturday’s long run was the first of these tests of pace and mental strength.
The workout was a 1 mile warm-up followed by 10 miles at marathon goal pace +10-20 sec/mile, completed with a 1 mile cool-down.Mike also is training hard for CIM so we did our warm-up together by running out and back to our house so we could do a familiar 10 mile out and back route. We had slept in and then eaten a light breakfast and drank our coffee so by the time we got on the road, it was past 9:30 and the sun was blazing and it was hot (mid 70s probably to start). As soon as we started running I knew it would be a rough run but I didn’t want to give up. I gave myself a little mental out from the beginning – it was hot and my legs were tired. Maybe it’d be ok if I didn’t quite run 8:20-8:30 min/miles. Once I started the race pace portion of the run, I knew it’d be a long 10 miles. My legs were tired and it was very hot – I was sweating buckets within minutes. I tried to not pay attention to my watch and just run at a pace that I thought I could hold for 10 miles.
I was surprised when my watch clicked off the first mile at 8:26. Not bad! I kept the effort the same and the next mile was 8:17 and 8:16 the next. However, I wasn’t feeling great. I wore my heart rate monitor and I noticed when my heart rate was in low Zone 4/high zone 3, things were ok, but when it popped into 5 bpm within the top of Zone 4, things weren’t great. Around mile 3.5 there is a hill which heads up into Solana Beach and I started to feel bad. It felt so hot. I kept telling myself that all I had to do was get to the turnaround at mile 5. And then once I got there, I could run back to Fletcher Cove and get more water (it was already more than halfway gone). These little goals really helped. 10 miles is a LONG time to maintain a hard effort.
Another thing that helped was that my training plan had called this a “HARD long run.” So despite it being slower than race pace, mentally I knew it was going to be hard. Instead of wondering how I’d ever run 26.2 miles just faster than my current pace, I focused on the positives. After the turnaround (where I had a Gu) and the water stop (where I poured water all of my head and down by back) I got my 2nd wind (although I was now running into a headwind). Miles 3 and 4 had been in the high 8s but 5 and 6 were ni the low 8s. I kept it going and somehow mustered the energy to finsih strong with a 8 min/mile. I finished 10 miles at an average pace of 8:26 in not ideal conditions on tired legs. It felt good! Mike was waiting for me and I was happy to hear that he also crushed his run. He ran my cool-down lap with me and we continued the runner’s high the rest of the day and into the night at the Jack Johnson Concert!
Rest day (with plenty of walking for active recovery). I had wanted to get in some yoga but it just didn’t happen. Instead I slept 10 hours, got breakfast with Mike, took a walk around town, took a 2 hour nap and had dinner with friends.
- Total Miles Run: 37.5
- Hours Strength Training: 1.5
- Total Time: ~7.5 hours
What key workouts in marathon or half marathon training do you find the most beneficial mentally and/or physically?