Hard to believe it, but two weeks of Cleveland Marathon training have come and gone already! Which means that I've survived my first two weeks of training under a coach! It also means there are under 100 days until the Cleveland Marathon! Speaking of which, have you registered yet? HKCLE10 gets you 10% off of any registration!
The first two weeks actually went really well although I'm definitely dealing with a learning curve of training differences plus the overall change of having to completely give up control over my workouts. But I can already see differences from the physical training and I'm noticing my speed and mental strength are back. So let's talk about how the first couple weeks went and what it's been like for me to train with a coach!
My first week of coaching was pretty basic. I started with learning what my coach considers base runs (i.e. conversational paced; not getting out of breath) and beginning to run for time (this is a big part of my coach's training). He allowed me to stick to what I had been doing throughout January, which was a lot of tempo runs, followed by recovery runs, but had me doing everything for time rather than mileage. Additionally, he built in foam rolling. So a few days per week, usually after key workouts, I have to do 20 mins of foam rolling. This is key, because honestly, if it wasn't on my list of workouts, I probably wouldn't do it.
My first week ended with around 35 miles, but feeling like I didn't do much at all. Which is funny, because in the past, that's been only about 5 miles shy of where I ususally peak. So that says a lot about what this style of training is doing for me already.
Week 2 was where my coach decided to give me a treat of what's to come. I get my workouts loaded on Sunday, so I knew what the week ahead looked like. And of course my eyes immediately jumped to Tuesday (hill repeats) and Thursday (1K) repeats. I was excited for Thursday, because I love half mile repeats (1K is pretty close to that), and terrified of Tuesday, because, ugh, hills. But I was ready to commit, knowing that he knows what's best and how bad I want to hit my goal in Cleveland.
I started the week off with a base run on Monday (8:15-9:00 goal) at 8:20/mile. Then came Tuesday, hill repeats. I had a 15 min warmup, 7-8 hill repeats (7:00 ish) with 1:30 walk down, and then the remainder of my running time at 8:15-9:00. So I set out and did 2 warm up miles and headed over to a hill that seemed to meet the 6%-10% grade goal.
I headed up the first time for 30 seconds (to the 3rd light in the pic above) at what felt like 7:00/mile, but it was dark so I couldn't really see. I stopped my watch and was surprised to see 6:15. I thought to myself that I would need to slow down if I wanted to survive all 8. So I tried to, but apparently, I'm faster than I thought. My uphills were 6:15, 6:29, 6:05, 6:23, 6:21, 6:20, 6:13, 6:26. And more importantly, I felt great the whole time and had enough energy to finish the workout. I was surprised because I was so afraid of this workout.
Thursday was a different story. Yes, I love half mile repeats, but as my running partner later pointed out, the scheduled workout had me taking a significantly shorter rest period than usual. 15 min warmup, 8 1K repeats at 6:45/mile with 1:30 walking in between. I made it through all 8 at about a 6:43 avg, but wow, were they hard. I made it through 3 and was in shock that I still had 5 to go. I dug them out and they took every ounce of mental and physical strength I had, but I got it done.
Friday was an easy run at 9:30. My coach's training plan has me running the day before long runs to get used to running on tired legs, so I had close to five miles. Then Saturday, I had 1:20 at 8:20-9:00. Despite the fact that there was freezing rain, snow, ice, and cold temps, somehow the run ended up great! I went out at a comfortable 9:15 and then dropped to 8:45 in the first 4.5 miles. Then for the rest I ran at about a 8:25/mile for a total of 9.3 at 8:35/mile. I ended up with a pretty good negative split for the run and a great way to end the week. I capped off week 2 at about 35 miles. Again, not feeling like I ran anywhere near that much.
Getting used to my coach's plan
So like I said, physically I'm doing fine on the plan but mentally, he's made some big changes for me.
1. Running for time - This is number 1 because it's so different. I've almost always been the "Ok, let's go out and run 5 miles", not let's go run 45 minutes. So this is very different to me for two reasons really. The first being my OCD, and getting used to the fact that I'm more often than not, going to end on an uneven number. Sometimes that means I try to sprint the end to hit the even number. But after talking to my coach, I've learned it's ok to take some time over the scheduled number to round it out. For the most part, as long as I hit an even tenth, it doesn't drive me nuts, although I also got permission to take a .9 to a whole mile ha! The other reason it's new to me is I need to get used to figuring out where to turn in long runs. The first week I turned halfway through my time goal, but apparently I went out faster (so I covered more distance) and then hit my time goal about a quarter mile from the end and had to walk back. This will take practice.
2. Running the day before long runs - After the first week of training my coach asked how it went. I said one big change was this. His response? Get used to it. You will almost always be doing this on my training plan. This change means I have to adjust my schedule and run in the morning on Friday because I don't think it's good to be running the night before I do an early morning long run the next day. It's also different because ever since I started running, Friday's have always been a rest day. Like ALWAYS. So this is very different. And of course there's the whole running the day before a long run thing.
3. Warm-ups - Shocking, I know. But usually I just go right into my runs. No warm-up. So having to spend 15 mins before is new. But not really a bad thing because it allows me to warm up (obviously), but also to plan the workout and where I will do it. It also let's me mentally prep myself for the harder portion.
4 - Giving up control - I only get my workouts one week at a time so that (1) I'm not obsessing over them (i.e. paces a few weeks out that I wonder if I can actually hit) and (2) so they don't have to be scheduled and then adjusted based on pace/schedule changes. But as someone who has always done my own schedule and plan, it's weird to not know what's coming next. In a way it's kind of relaxing to not have to worry but also as someone who like to control everything, it's hard for me to let go!
All in all, not too bad, especially since most changes are mentally new and challenging not physically. I'm excited to see what the next week holds and to tackle some more training. One thing is for sure, I always feel very accomplished when I finish every workout my coach plans for me.