So it's been a while because I have been bogged down with bar exam studying and celebrating my city's first championship in 52 years (GO CAVS!!!!), but my running hasn't suffered at all, because Big Cottonwood training started a couple weeks ago! I am definitely going to get back to posting my weekly training updates, but for this week, since I am a little behind, I thought I would kick off my discussion with an overview of how training has gone in general so far.
So in general I have been slowly ramping up the mileage, but being careful not to do too much, too fast in order to avoid any injury. I was careful last training cycle about how I ramped up my weekly mileage, and I was rewarded with feeling strong, and getting to that start line injury free and healthy. I'm currently at a hair over 30 miles per week. I also have been cautious about adding in too much speed early on to prevent injuries close to my last marathon. I'm currently maxing out with my fastest runs being slightly under 8 minute miles. I'm finally recovered and feeling good, so next week will begin the speedwork and I will start making 1 run a week done at 7:30-7:40 average. I have been throwing in some hill work already to make sure that I am really working on that down hill training to get prepared for my race. The core training and quad training will begin next week as well. Finally, I have been consistently making sure to nail my negative splits as I really would like to try to run a negative split in my marathon.
The final thing that I have been throwing in is improving my diet. Post-Cleveland Marathon, I got a little close to falling off of my healthy eating track, and I have really been working to make sure to get back on track. This involved making sure I stick to my list in the grocery store (to keep the crap out of my house) and making sure I have complete and filling healthy meals to prevent unnecessary snacking. But, because I believe in balance, of course I have my post-long run pizza :)! See the pics below for some of my healthy, filling, and delicious (and all gluten free!!) meals and snacks that I have been cooking up!
So how did this week go training wise? For the most part, it was pretty good, although the long run was a little rough because I tend to get in my head when I do "short" long runs during marathon training.
I started off the week with 4 miles at 8:25/mile and a 6 minute plank. In the future, this will probably be my speed work day. My focus this week, however, was to make sure my legs were really ready to go for next week and to not push too hard. I did make sure to do a negative split for this run (8:45, 8:30, 8:20, 8:05).
I was able to run in a new-ish spot on Tuesday as I am watching someone's dog this week. I have ran in this portion of the Metroparks before, but last time it was the dead of winter and I was running the Green Jewel 50k relay, so it was quite different. I kicked up the pace a little, holding 8:11 for 5 miles and making sure to get my negative splits in. I also ran the first 2.5 uphill (gradual) and the second 2.5 gradual downhill.
The place where I am staying has pretty much no sidewalks so I was unpleasantly surprised to find out that most of my run was on gravel or grassy shoulders which were uneven and all downhill one way and uphill back. It definitely made for a difficult run where I was working harder than usual. I did 5.5 miles and then took a .5 mile walk up a huge hill (seriously, I've never seen one like this before) and then worked on running downhill. I definitely would advise my future self to do the portion of the hill at the beginning of my run, rather than the end, because I seriously wasn't even sure I could walk to the top. But the downhill felt great and I was able to hold a 7:30-7:40 for the down hill portion. 6 miles at 8:31/mile overall.
While I usually take Fridays off, I was really aching on the side of one foot and on my shins from all of the slanted, uneven surfaces on Wednesday's run. So I shifted things around a bit and headed out for a Friday morning run. The run felt really good overall and I was able to work in a negative split. 4 miles total at 8:31/mile.
Saturday - 12 mile long run
I headed out early with my running partner to log 6.5 miles before meeting the club so we could save time and beat the heat. I could tell as soon as we took off that I didn't like running the day before (although he suggested it was because the Friday run was too fast for the day before a long run) and I could tell this would be one of those short long runs where I was in my own head the whole way. Luckily my running partner picked up on those vibes and got me talking the whole way to the club to distract me with good conversation. After we met the club, we set back out for 5.5 more miles. The first couple were fine, but I could quickly feel myself getting in my own head. I really used this as an opportunity to work on getting out of my own head. The last mile and a half my running partner really helped to talk to me out of my funk, even yelling at me when I called it a terrible running, which I really needed to hear. We got it done. 12 miles at 8:53/mile.
All in all, not a bad week of training and a week full of opportunities to learn and improve. I can't wait for this week of training to really get into it!
I'm back! I took a little time off from blogging post- Cleveland Marathon because I wasn't training or racing and I've been crazy busy since I graduated law school a couple weekends ago! It's been a whirlwind of graduation, family stuff, wrapping up work, and knocking out pre-bar exam review study assignments, but I feel like I am finally starting to settle in and get back to a routine. I did end up running a four miler on Memorial Day as a last second decision (since I needed a four miler anyways) and I ended up taking my age group (20-29) and running decently fast 2.5 weeks out from the marathon (29:47; 7:28/mile). Now I'm solely focused on bar exam studying which means I have a solid routine back in place, which is a good thing because I've picked my fall marathon! I will be heading off to Utah to run the beautiful and fast Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon on September 10th where I will be trying to BQ! With the help of my running partner, we've found a training plan (that he and others in my club have successfully used) which will hopefully push me to that Boston Qualifier on a course which routinely produces qualifiers. The temps and humidity have been rapidly rising here in Ohio which has made for some rough runs, which means I'm going to have my work cut out for me and I'm going to need to start my runs early in the morning or late after the sun starts to set. The next few months are going to be intense, which is why the rest I have been giving my body was key, but the results would be worth it when I punch my ticket this fall!
The plan I will be using is an old (1996) but still good Runner's World training plan created by Jack Daniels, who coached Joan Benoit Samuelson and Alberto Salazar, and has devised a plan which can be applied to any runner of any ability. It is a 12 week plan with multiple components, which are Long Runs, Threshold Runs, Easy Runs, Marathon Pace Runs, and Races used as testing. It allows you to pick your pace for your training runs and workouts, based on your goal marathon pace, calculated from your pace in shorter distance races.
What this plan does different is that some of my longer runs will involve a couple quicker miles thrown into them and additionally, a couple "long runs" early in the plan will be done at marathon pace. Also, my speed work actually be slower than my past cycle, but there will be less recovery in between the miles. A typical week on this plan will involve two workout runs (depending on the week it will be 2 speed or 1 speed and 1 hill), one long run, a mid-week longer run, and 2-3 easy runs. It should work out to 5-6 days a week of running and mileage around 45-50 miles/week. I will peak my long run at 22 miles, which I always do. Unofficially, I've already started training, although really, I'm not paying attention to pace or weekly mileage, but I did run 12 last week and 10 the week before, which is typically how I start off a marathon training program. Once this Friday rolls around, I will be out of recovery (26 days), and I will be safe to really start the workouts, which times up perfectly with Saturday being my first marathon training run. Additionally, I plan to run 1-2 half marathons in the training for the full marathon as shakeouts and tests of my fitness. Right now, I am leaning toward the Erie Half Marathon in mid-July, and potentially 1 half in early August.
My other goal in training for this marathon is to really work on cross-training and other aspects of fitness to really make sure I am as ready as I can be to tackle the 26.2 at a BQ pace. My course loses almost 6000ft of elevation as we run, so I will need to strengthen my quads, back, and knees to be able to handle that change. Additionally, I will need to take on several runs which simulate elevation change (both downhill and uphill). So here are the keys to my marathon training that aren't focused on speed and long runs:
1. Hills - This is an area that I have usually ignored in my past training, other than running 2 big ones in the middle of long runs. I plan to get in some solid hill work/repeats, and to run a park we have near me called Hinckley, which is 10 miles of one hill after another of down or up hill.
2. Core strength - I plan to keep up my planking but to work in other core work in the form of exercise ball obliques and tucks, v-ups (weighted and non), among others. The key will be focusing on deep obliques and abs, rather than surfact abs like crunches, which do little for runners.
3. Quads and knees - For these, I will be going back to squats (weighted and non), wall sits, lunges, and burpees.
4. Arms - Runners often overlook arms because many people forget how key arm strength is in running. When you pump your arms, it propels you. My planking helps, but I will also work in assisted pullups, pushups, tricep dips, and curls.
5. Recovery workouts - Swimming and Spinning. Both work wonders to reset, provide a good workout with no impact, and boost endurance.
So that's where I'm at with my training officially kicking off next weekend with a 14 mile run. Obviously, new workouts could be added and others removed, but this is my game plan right now. The fact that I'm only studying right now gives me a lot of time to work in my training so I'm excited to see what I can accomplish with a lot of time to dedicate to training. 14 weeks till race day!!