Monday, November 23, 2015

Treadmill Time (and I'm excited)

Most runners will agree, treadmills suck*. Most runners will also agree that there is a time or place for treadmills, such as during inclement weather or to work on pace. 

As a SoCal resident, the weather that occasionally sends me inside is usually triple-digit heat in the summer. Once, while in New Orleans for work,  I had the genius idea to use a treadmill at the hotel during an unexpected very icy cold front the day AFTER freezing my tail off outside (and ripping my leggings/ scraping my knee after tripping on the uneven sidewalks in the Garden District). 

I've also used the treadmill for speedwork and to work on pacing. It's a great tool to dial in pace and hit targets. The softer surface of the treadmill is also good for recovery days. 

Now that I'm on the injured list and have not been able to run, I've discovered another great reason to use the treadmill. Last week my physical therapist cleared me to speedwalk on steep incline. Yay! Or not, I thought after it took me a very boring 33:14 to walk 2 miles with the incline set to progress to 15%. The second time I climbed on the treadmill, a fuzzy thought crossed my mind. Didn't I read once (or twice) that walking a very steep incline is equivalent to running? 

As soon as I got home, I pulled out the printed version of this CHART from my journal. The chart converts treadmill MPH pace into miles per minute equivalent by incline. Going 5 mph on the treadmill at 10% incline is equivalent to running 8:07 min/mile. Great! Okay, I can't walk that fast but I do walk my hills at an average 4 mph. Unfortunately the chart does not go below 5 mph so I used my fancy math skills (or just swagged it) and guestimated that 4 mph at 10% incline is equivalent to a 9-10 min/mile pace. 

From the and Matt Fitzgerald (love him) Workout of the Week article I distantly remember reading in February:

Research has shown that when individuals walk up a steep incline at a brisk pace, their brains use the same motor pattern that they use to run at the same speed on the same grade. In other words, at a given speed, there’s a certain gradient at which the difference between walking and running disappears. That’s significant, because it’s primarily the motor pattern that the brain uses to produce a given type of aerobic activity that determines how much the cardiovascular benefits carry over to running. Therefore, walking briskly on a steep incline stands to improve your running almost as much as running itself. 
Read more at: Workout of the Week: Steep Uphill Treadmill Walking

Reframing steep treadmill walking as a running equivalent has excited me. I'm at the point in my recovery where I am itching to run, but know I shouldn't (getting better, almost there!). 

Have you discovered steep incline treadmill walking? Am I last to the party?

*I once met an Alaskan marathoner who does ALL his training runs on the treadmill. He probably doesn't think they suck.

Friday, November 13, 2015


The hardest part of my injury is that it hit me when I was in my training groove. I was feeling strong. I was hitting my targets. I even felt my mental game was ON and that I could conquer my nemesis distance--the marathon--and fly. 

Every day I don't run I feel my fitness slowly leave my body. 

I'm struggling with doubt. Doubt that I'll ever heal. Doubt that I'll be able to run strong and fit again. And with doubt comes depression.

Last weekend I captain'd a team for Ragnar Las Vegas. Prior to the race, I was running a little bit--low mileage and only every few days. I shouldn't have been running at all. I was still feeling pain and my running mechanics were off. I was scheduled for 4 legs (we were down a runner) and I didn't want to go into the race unprepared. 

My leg started bothering me during my 2nd leg and I ended up having to walk/run my 3rd leg. I was crying on an isolated trail in the middle of night with an occasional speedy (they're all speedy when you're walking) runner passing me. They would cheer me on saying things like You've got this and You're almost there, only 2 more miles! which only made me feel worse. My 3rd leg was *just* 8 miles. A distance I used to be able to do in my sleep. :( I ended up not running my 4th leg and one of my teammates ended up running a total of 6 legs (!) to cover that one for me. 

Now that Ragnar is over and I've deferred my registration for CIM, I'm finally doing the smart thing and not running again until I feel no pain doing a single-leg squat. I'm continuing with physical therapy...I've added glute strengthening exercises to the glute activation exercises. I'm scheduled for an OMT session with my DO. I'm cross-training like crazy, cycle classes mostly, to keep my cardio fitness.

I feel I'm doing everything right. I feel my glutes getting stronger. I feel less pain in my leg and haven't had to take pain pills in almost a week. 

In spite of all that, I'm doubting. I'm unsure. I'm scared. One thing I've learned through years of running, is that the sport isn't a check box. It's feeling and passion. It's the joy of finishing a tough long run, of lacing up my shoes to explore new places, of conquering barriers.

I need to believe. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Five for Friday

Nani, practicing for our midnight run
It's Friday! It's Halloween weekend! Let's hope for lots treats and not too many tricks, unless they are funny. I figured it's about time I write a Friday Five.  

1. Running! I'm easing back into running. Slowly increasing mileage. I'm not 100% and still have some pain. It's getting better AND I'm feeling my butt more during my runs. Which leads to...

2. PT and BANDS OF HELL exercises. I'm still doing these everyday. They still suck...but, butt! I'm feeling my glutes more in everyday activities. The exercises are hard but they are working. 

3. Spooky Halloween Midnight Run tonight! Nani and I are joining a group of local runners for a 6 mile run starting exactly at midnight tonight. Also, joining are some of my Lab Rats Ragnar teammates...

Do you Yeti? Right out the box, over my
work clothes. 

4. Next weekend I'm running Ragnar Las Vegas for the third time. I can't wait for the van stories and highjinks! And I'm excited to wear my...

5. YETI. I finally ordered and received Oiselle's Yeti. So comfy, so warm. Living in Southern California, I haven't felt the need to buy one the last couple years. We're going to England for most of December and I felt our vacation is the perfect excuse. Plus it does get a bit cold here.;) This year's version is not available yet, but I was able to buy one during a pre-holiday Friends and Family sale. It was the ONE item I was hoping they would have available for the sale and they did! Score!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Hitting Reset

After asking my physical therapist for the eleventhy millionest time yesterday for reassurances that I'm not a lost cause, that people with glutes as weak as mine do comeback and do comeback stronger, I'm starting to believe. 

When I can't run, my ever-present but usually latent trolls of self-doubt emerge in full-force. It doesn't help that the stuff I'm not good or natural at--the things I ignored, are the things I'm now starting to forced to address (in a good way!). I sit way too much at work. I have a long commute. Butt and hip strengthening band exercises suck and are hard (but seem to be working!-->I've progressed to the next set of prescribed exercises). Pilates is torture, but great for injury prevention. I never had time for it before injury and now I realize that "not having time" is just an excuse. I always I have time. It's all about priorities. I had that light bulb moment walking into work this morning.

With all this jumble in my head and not having the ability to run loooooong (miss my long runs) to clear my mind, it is perfect timing that this week in my Believe Training Journal I reached the Hit Reset section. The Believe In Rest & Rejuvenation section. 

This section is really about allowing yourself proper recovery from daily and weekly training with proper nutrition, rest and developing a prehab habit and a stretch routine. But it also speaks to me as I recover from injury and helps me focus my efforts. As I mentioned above, I've started taking Pilates. Jill, Movement Coach and owner at The Energy Lab (the fitness studio I attend), has always said that Pilates is great prehab and is her number 1 secret for injury prevention. I finally subscribed to Jasyoga. It rocks. It's a great way to reset and my body feels awesome after finishing a video. 

I'm not a lost cause, because as my PT told me, "You're motivated and you do the work." And that's always been me. I'm consistent and I learn from my mistakes. I was ignorant and/or maybe overly-confident but I've learned my lesson and am working towards a stronger, more well-rounded me. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Weak-a$$ Glutes!

I thought I had a femoral stress reaction/fracture.
Lazy ass is a better diagnosis. Glad my funny
bone is intact. :)
One week without running, one visit to the doctor, one assessment with a movement coach, one visit to a sports-specialized physical therapist and the verdict for my right leg is severe IT band syndrome caused by weak glutes. To quote my physical therapist, "You have no butt!" or in my interpretation, I have weak-ass glutes. 

I've been prescribed painkillers, a regimen of daily glute-strengthening and targeting exercises (with bands of hell), weekly physical therapy appointments and no running for a bit. And I'm good with that (or I've come to terms with that)...because in spite of my weak-ass glutes I've been getting stronger and faster. I've won races, I've PR'd consistently. My other muscle groups have been picking up the slack of my lazy-ass glutes for years! Slackers! Now,  Imagine the Possibilities--how much stronger and faster I can be--when I have kick-ass glutes (the kind that take names and you don't want to meet in a dark alley)! 

This is me making lemonade out of lemons, rolling with punches and reframing some bad news--but I have to admit that this weak-glutes thing threw me for a loop. I've read dozens of articles over the years that the number one reason for injuries in runners is weak glutes. I always assumed that it didn't apply to me because I TRX and circuit train and do lots of squats and lunges. I have a strong core (HA! It's not strong if my glutes are weak!). What I didn't know was that I'm literally a  lazy-butt and let my quads and hamstrings and abs do all the work. A 40+hour a week desk job with a commute doesn't help my lazy ass.  

An awesome thing about running is that it teaches me humility. I get a little cocky (it's how I build myself up!) and something knocks me down--but I do come back stronger and use it to improve. When I'm knocked down, I regain focus and determination. What's life without challenge?

So what does this all mean for my training plan and goals?

1. I'm going to DNS for what was my planned tune-up race for my goal marathon, the Long Beach 1/2 Marathon (I'll still be heading to LBC to cheer on the runners and my brother who is running the full marathon).

2. Although my PT and I agree I will be back to running and capable of running the California International Marathon in December, I won't be able to run it at the level and speed I've been training for and want to run it in. I plan to defer my registration when the deferral window opens up in November and run in 2016. (This also makes sense logistically because we leave for England a couple of days after the race this year and I had been stressing out a bit about travelling up north to Sacramento for the race and then leaving for almost a month and what to do with Nani.)

3. Ease back into running when I've been pain-free for 3 days.

4. Start training for the special-edition Valentine's Day LA Marathon (already registered, pre-injury) in November (12 week training plan).

5. Cross-train with indoor cycling. Strength-train with focus on my glutes (while not forgetting other muscle groups). 

6. With no long runs for awhile and lots of free time, organize and declutter our house. Write a novel. Put away the laundry. Yeah, right. I'll believe it when I see it. 

Rehab: Week 1 (Everyday: prescribed glute band-exercises)

Goal-Mileage: 0 miles

Monday: Tabata + Cycle class 
Tuesday: Cycle class
Wednesday: Cycle class
Thursday: Cycle class + TRX
Friday: Tabata + Pilates + TRX
Saturday: Walk
Sunday: Walk

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


I'm depressed. I'm sad. I feel silly and embarrassed. There are a lot of hard struggles out there in the world and my struggle isn't one of them. I made a hard decision for myself, which was to finally stop ignoring my thigh pain/issue and back off running this week. I'm taking it day-by-day to see how it feels. 

I've had a nagging pain in my right thigh since September 15th. It bugs me at the beginning of my runs but once I get in the groove and hit my stride, it doesn't bother me. It reminded me of a similar pain in my left leg earlier this year that resolved on its own. I thought it would follow a similar path. It hasn't. 

I ran 20 miles on Sunday with a fairly good pace and felt great. Monday, my rest day,  I woke up in pain.  All day Monday, while downing Motrin, I debated continuing my training plan (stubborn) vs to stop for awhile (smart). I talked to my husband. I finally decided, telling him "This is really hard for me to do and it's a hard decision for me to make, but I'm not going run my scheduled run tomorrow and maybe {see, I can't's hard} the rest of the week and I need your support on this."

I have an appointment with my primary care doctor on October 30th (the earliest they can see me). I'm now debating whether I should go to urgent care to start the diagnostic process (referral to an orthopedist, MRI etc). Google is not a friend (femur stress fracture??). I can't single leg hop on it and I definitely favor it. But the chair/fulcrum test is negative (no pain). Internet, MD. 

I keep reminding myself of the big picture--I will run stronger if I allow my body to heal. I would rather run strong and healthy in the future than continue on a mediocre path. Now, more than ever, the mantra that I've printed on my RoadID--I WANT IT MORE THAN I FEAR IT--means more to me now because the decision to back off training was very scary for me to make. 

Because of my great base and fitness level, I can miss up to 10 days of training without it impacting my marathon goal (per my book/training plan). My leg feels better today and instead of running, I am indoor cycling (no weight bearing).

*Sigh* You want to know what sucks about this? I was feeling strong and confident about my training and my abilities. Maybe even a little cocky. 

I'll get it back. I'll get that feeling back. I've come back from worse. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

{week 9} Progress NOT Perfection

The Lab Rats - night training run
My mantra used to be Perseverance not perfection. I'm awesome at persevering. I consistently show up and do the work. I really don't need to work on perseverance. As I stated in a previous post (Fully Baked), I need to work on pushing myself outside my comfort zone and persevering is simply not a big enough goal for me. 

Paul coaches a new U13 club soccer team. The boys play with their heart and learn from mistakes and have consistently become better with each game. This past Saturday, the boys played against the #1 team in the league and although it would be nice to say they came from behind and won, that didn't happen. They lost. But they played very well and as I was talking to one of the soccer moms I told her Progress not perfection {who knows where these thoughts come from; sometimes genius thoughts spontaneously appear in my mind} and she really liked that. I told my husband later and he really liked it and is now using it.

I've embraced Progress not perfection (since way back this past Saturday) as my new mantra. I tend to beat myself up mentally when I don't hit goal paces or a workout doesn't go as planned. I still finish it (see above) but I don't necessarily allow myself the euphoria of a job well done. 

I'm great at looking at what went wrong and learning from my mistakes (which is awesome) but I don't give myself credit for what went right--the mistakes I didn't make, the progress I've made. Three years ago, I was re-learning to run and celebrated the joy of running 2 miles straight. I'm now training for my second marathon of 2015. That, my friends, is progress. 

Week 9 (9 Weeks until CIM)--at the halfway point!

Goal Mileage: 48 miles

Monday: Rest or cross-training
Tuesday: Recovery run - 6 miles Rest
Wednesday: Medium-long run - 14 miles Rest
Thursday: Recovery run - 6 miles
Friday: Rest or cross-training Recovery run - 6 miles
Saturday: Recovery run + speed - 6 miles with 6 x 100m strides
Sunday: Marathon-pace run: 16 miles with 12 miles at marathon race pace

Monday, September 21, 2015

{week 8} Making it through a tough week

Up until this past week, I've had a good string of training runs and weeks. I suppose I was due a not-so-good one. I never expected it to be the week after a recovery week. I thought because I was training in San Diego and my route was relatively flat (I usually train with hills), my planned tempo while challenging would not be impossible. 

Feeling minor twinges in my right quad, I started my run along the San Diego Bay on a warm and humid Tuesday morning. I felt off right from the start, but you know what they say: never trust your first mile. My first 2 warm-up miles felt tough. Tougher than they should: my heart rate was high (much higher than normal) and my right leg felt "off". I continued on and sped up to my tempo speed. Yeah, not so good. I ran 3 miles at tempo and decided that was enough. I finished my run with a 2 mile cool-down, but had to keep stopping because my heart rate was high. 

After the day's meetings were finished, I hopped on the hotel treadmill to finish my tempo work: 1/2 mile warm-up--2 miles at tempo--1/2 mile cool-down. I don't know if this is right or appropriate, but I wanted to finish my aborted run. I know missing ONE or even not completing ONE run will not affect my training. In my head, I should have known this is my body telling me I need more rest and recovery

Especially true in light of Wednesday's recovery run: 4 miles along the relatively flat San Diego Bay. It was drizzling a bit, but not warm like the day before. On my recovery runs, I like to keep my heart rate below 143 bpm. This was not happening. Again, my heart rate was higher than expected. I ran the 4 miles at a slow recovery pace, but my average heart rate was 152 bpm. Clearly I needed more rest. Right? Back home, I ran my scheduled 11 mile regular run on Thursday morning. Again, it felt harder than it should. 

I took Friday off completely (no cross-training) and decided not to drive out to Los Angeles on Saturday for a Oiselle Volée meet-up (too much driving hurts my legs--it's a 3 hour round trip) and we were going to Orange County (2 hour round trip) for a birthday party later that day. 

Weekends get overbooked with different activities and before I know it, Monday happens and I haven't rested properly. I think I was tired from travel, dehydrated, still recovering from the weekend before and the HEAT. 

Bad runs happen. Unfortunately, they brought out my self-doubt thoughts that cycle through my mind: Am I good enough? Can I even do this? Why am I doing this? and all of the other discouraging and depressing thoughts that plague my mind. I started to fear doing my planned weekend runs...

....Saturday morning I ran my 18-mile long run. After the first couple miles, my right quad didn't bother me. I kept an eye on my heart rate. It stayed within my normal run range. It was a great run! I was able to get in my run zone and the miles melted away. Up until the last two miles, which were a struggle. Reflecting back on my run, I realized I did not have any water since mile 12 and it was HOT. A simple solution to make my next run better. 

In summary: my tough week has reminded me to (1)recover like a champ; (2) dust myself off and learn from my mistakes but don't dwell on them; (3) ask for help; and (4) re-focus on mental toughness training

Week 8 (10 weeks until CIM)

Goal Mileage: 54 miles

Monday: Rest or cross-training (tabata)
Tuesday: Recovery run + speed - 7 miles with 6 x 100m strides
Wednesday: Medium-long run - 12 miles
Thursday: Rest or cross-training
Friday: Lactate threshold run - 10 miles with 6 miles at tempo, speed play on treadmill (am) + 3 miles recovery run (pm)
Saturday: Recovery run - 5 miles
Sunday: Long run - 20 miles

Monday, September 14, 2015

{week 7} Pushing the threshold

Time to enter the next phase of my 18-week training plan. Last week capped my endurance building phase. The focus of the next 5 weeks is to increase my lactate threshold while continuing to build my endurance. 

Based on past running and training, my lactate threshold heart rate is 174 bpm and my current lactate threshold pace is 8:05 min /mile. The  focus of my training for the next few weeks will be to raise my threshold so I can run stronger and faster at a more comfortable heart rate. Out, out lactate!

This week I have a tempo run on Tuesday. Kinda nervous about that because I'm travelling to San Diego for work and will be down there for the run. Not nervous about the tempo, more nervous about running fast in the dark in a place I'm not too familiar with. Less nervous because I have run on the Embarcadero before, just not fast.  On schedule for Sunday, is my longest run thus far in this training cycle. 

Vasona Lake: Sometimes you've got to stop to take a picture

Week 7 (11 weeks until CIM)

Goal Mileage: 50 miles

Monday: Rest or cross-training (tabata)
Tuesday: 10 miles with 5 miles at tempo 7 miles with 3 miles at tempo and 3 miles with 2 miles at tempo(lactate threshold run) - San Diego
Wednesday: 4 miles recovery run - San Diego
Thursday: 11 miles medium-long run
Friday: Rest or cross-training :)
Saturday: 7 miles with 8 x 100m strides (PM) 18 mile long run
Sunday: 18 mile long run 7 miles recovery run

Total miles: 50.1 miles

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

{week 6} Recovery happens

Senior prom...hmm, yeah.
I'm on my final week of the first mesocycle (endurance) of my fall 18-week training cycle. This week is also marked as a recovery week which means less miles. And the timing could not be more perfect because my high school reunion is Saturday and my scheduled weekend long run is only 12 miles. Um, there might be there will be some other type of recovery going on that weekend. Especially since I purposely booked our hotel room within walking distance of swirls. 

Senior prom

Since starting this plan, I've come to appreciate recovery and truly understand its importance in building speed, power and strength. I've discovered that recovery runs (when run at the proper pace/intensity) are helpful to shake legs out from previous workouts and to get ready for the next day's workout. Now, running at the proper recovery pace/intensity is a bit tricky {for me}. I have to set an alarm on my Garmin to make sure my heart rate stays below 143 bpm. It is very tempting to run faster and I've pushed myself with hills or speed too many times. 

Celebrating my 15th birthday with a weekend in Santa Cruz

Last week, I ran a proper recovery run with an avg pace of 10:15/mile (goal pace range = 9:50 to 10:36/mile) Right pace; right heart rate. That night I felt great. Legs refreshed and I felt ready to tackle the next day's run, which was a 10 mile general aerobic run

My goal pace range for this type of run is 8:45 to 9:43/mile. I set a goal to run my 10 miles with an avg pace of less than 9:00/mile and with refreshed legs I was able to run it at an 8:50/mile average with no problem. Of course, later in the week for my second scheduled recovery run on Saturday, Paul and I hit the trails with the soccer boys for hill sprints (him) and 5 miles (me and Nani). It's tough impossible keeping my heart rate down on trails, so my goal was to go as slow as needed and to not push myself. The next day I had my 16-miler with last 10 at goal marathon pace (~8:35/mile) and I was able to run those 10 miles at an average 8:31/mile. I did alright. 

Week 6 (12 weeks to CIM)

Goal Mileage: 37 miles

Monday: Rest or cross-training (TRX class)
Tuesday: 8 miles with 10 x 100m strides
Wednesday: 5 miles recovery run
Thursday: 8 miles general aerobic run
Friday: 4 miles recovery run (travel to San Jose)
Saturday: 12 miles medium-long run (Night=reunion)
Sunday: Rest or cross-training (travel home)

Monday, August 31, 2015

{week 5} Practice Makes Perfect

Mountain to Sea Trail
Week 5! I can't believe I'm on Training Week 5 {13 weeks until CIM}. Yikes! No. Nope. I'm not going to say 'yikes' or psych myself out. I'm not going to allow myself to train my brain to go into freak out mode when I think about the marathon. It's a habit not worth keeping. It's a habit that can hurt me.

I know from previous race experiences, mental strength & fortitude is something I should work on and it's something I need (but haven't, really) to work on consistently throughout training. I must say, though, going through the motions of my training plan--hitting my paces, working the miles--helps me realize that I can do this. 
Speaking of practice, I had the opportunity to run miles 16 to 21 of the marathon while in Sacramento for work. It was a great run. Not only did I get to practice part of the route, it was  also a classic negative split run--where each mile was slightly faster than the previous mile.

The Winning Yucaipa U-13 Spartans with Coach Paul

We also traveled to Irvine, CA for a soccer tournament and I ran the last part of the Mountains to Sea Trail as part of my long run. I love running in places I don't usually run. The only issue is that with new places I don't know the water situation (at home I plan my long run routes based on water fountain locations), so I use my hand-held Nathan 5 oz bottle. The cap is a bit tricky (or maybe it is only a bit tricky for me) and if it is not on exactly right then it leaks. Before I finished my first couple of miles and before I drank any, I was out of water. My mile 8 I was desperate for water and ended up climbing a fence of a yacht club to get some. I made sure the cap was on right before heading back to the hotel. Lesson learned: stop and fix cap if I notice it leaking. 

Hydration is a good thing

Week 5 (13 weeks until goal race)

Goal mileage: 45 miles

Monday: Rest or cross-training (tabata)
Tuesday: 9 mile run with 5 miles at tempo (lactate threshold run)
Wednesday: 5 mile recovery run
Thursday: 10 mile general aerobic run
Friday: Rest or cross-training (tabata)
Saturday: 5 mile recovery run
Sunday: 16 miles with 10 at goal marathon pace

Monday, August 24, 2015

{week 4} Run Love

Nani loves running & showing his #flystyle
Prior to starting my current training plan, I stated multiple times that I enjoy training for marathons {just not racing marathons}. At the time it meant that I enjoyed the once-a-week progressively longer runs and running in general  the other days of the week. I started adding speed and track workouts late last year and I discovered I enjoyed the challenges those entail too.

Now that I have completed 3 weeks of a marathon-specific training plan, I can whole-heartedly state that I freakin' love training for marathons {still not sure about racing one}. 

  • A 10-mile mid-week regular run to increase endurance? No problem. My alarm goes off at 4:45 am, I lace up my shoes and I'm out the door. No big deal. 
  • Tempo miles? Okay. I'm still a bit nervous about those, but I face the challenge, put aside my fears and feel great once I'm done. Queen of the World! 
  • Fast-finish or marathon-pace long runs, yes please. 
  • Of course, I still enjoy the bread-and-butter of marathon training, the long slow distance run. Ones with a more leisurely pace and ones I tend to tackle hills. Lots of hills. Like yesterday with over 1,000 feet elevation gain.

The Lab Rats conquer hills! #hillsforbreakfast

I am missing my track workouts, but I will see some of those as I finish the endurance building cycle of my plan and get into the lactate threshold and race preparation cycles in the coming weeks. 

This week, I'm on the road. First to Sacramento for two nights for work and second to Irvine as the coach's wife for a soccer tournament. While I'm in Sacramento I plan on running miles 16-21 of the California International Marathon course as practice (Thursday) to my race in December. I'm excited about this.

Week 4 (14 weeks until CIM)

Goal Mileage: 42 miles

Monday: Rest or cross-training: cycle class
Tuesday: 8 mile general aerobic run with 10 x 100m strides (Travel to Sacramento pm)
Wednesday: 5 mile recovery run (in Sacramento)
Thursday: 10 mile general aerobic run (in Sacramento)
Friday: Rest or cross-training: 1 mile warm-up jog + tabata + TRX (Travel to Irvine pm)
Saturday: 4 mile recovery run (in Irvine)
Sunday: 15 mile medium long-run (in Irvine)

Monday, August 17, 2015

{week 3} Train with a Purpose & Rest with Determination

Hitting my pace goals this week. :)
Wow. I've completed my first 2 weeks (15 weeks to go!) of marathon training and I feel like I have learned a whole year of lessons. Maybe a lifetime of lessons. Lots of light bulb moments and it's only been two weeks. I'm a little slow on the uptake sometimes and these may be obvious to you all but to me they were clearly moments of enlightenment. 

Two of the biggest:
  • Run each run with a purpose--I've read this advice countless times. I thought I knew what it meant (in my head) but truly did not know what it meant in my heart and in my bones. Knowing the reason--build endurance, gain speed, shakeout muscles, simulate race conditions--gives meaning and purpose to my runs and helps me appreciate light bulb #2 below so much more than before I started this training plan. It helps me mentally prepare and I can take on the challenge of the day. No junk miles to meet some arbitrary goal. Above all this is preserving and protecting my love of running.
  • Take rest/recovery days--THIS. THIS is the big one. I finally truly know this in  my core and my being. I know recovery is where the magic happens. Training breaks down my body and the rest/recovery days build it back up stronger.  Before starting this training plan, I was an everyday or almost everyday runner. Now that I have had 3 days of NO running each week for the last two weeks I've noticed that I am feeling stronger and fitter on the days I do run. I'm not slogging through the miles and I am finishing strong (this is important as it is my weak link). As my training volume increases, rest and recovering like a champ is crucial.
Trail running with Nani and Paul's soccer team
A mini-light bulb moment: I'm going to have to start waking up earlier for my mid-week long runs or I will be super-late for work. Especially as the mileage increases!

Week 3 (15 weeks until CIM)

Goal Mileage: 40 miles

Monday: Rest or cross-training (cycle class)
Wednesday: 4 miles, recovery run with Nani
Thursday: 8 miles with 4 miles at tempo (lactate threshold run) + teach TRX class PM
Friday: Rest or cross-training (tabata AM + teach cycle class PM)
Saturday: 4 miles, recovery run with Nani
Sunday: 14 miles, medium-long run (6-7 miles with The Lab Rats)

Actual Mileage: 40.8 miles

Monday, August 10, 2015

{week 2} On the long road to 26.2

Phew! Made it through the first week of marathon training AND it's only going to get more serious. It wasn't that it was hard so much as that it was different from my usual week with only 4 scheduled runs including 2 mid-week longer runs.  I can see how running like this with these types of runs will both mentally and physically prep me for the 26.2 miles. 

As mentioned in my previous post, this past week included 3 rest/cross-training days (Rocked them!) as well as an 8 mile run with 4 miles at tempo, a 9 mile regular run, a 4 mile recovery run and a 12 mile medium-long run

I had to deal with self-doubt as I prepped for Tuesday's tempo run. I doubted my ability to run 4 miles at tempo. My tempo pace range is: 7:53-8:08 min/mile. As I was fretting over this, Paul asked me if the pace is slower or faster than my 5k pace. I told him it was slower and he said it should be no problem for me. I still had my doubts but Paul's words gave it a new perspective. I ended up running my tempo miles at an average pace of 8:04/mile. I did slow down a bit the last part of those miles and I know that is something I will need to work on as the weeks progress--but I DID IT!

I hit my paces with all the other runs and I learned that I need to wake up earlier for my mid-week long runs because I was late for work on those days. Oops. Also, running the hills of Griffith Park in Los Angeles for my recovery run was probably not a good idea (impossible to keep my heart rate below 143 bpm)--but it was a fun opportunity for a group run with my Oiselle Volée and Lab Rats teammates.

A friend, Jen, encouraged me to DREAM BIG and TRAIN BIG. And that's my plan.

Week 2 (16 weeks until marathon)

Goal Mileage: 36 miles

Monday: Rest or cross-training (taught cycle class)
Tuesday: 9 miles, general aerobic run with 11x100 strides 8 miles, general aerobic run with 10x100 strides
Wednesday: Rest or cross-training
Thursday: 10 miles, general aerobic run
Friday: Rest or cross-training
Saturday: 5 miles trail run with Paul's soccer team, recovery run
Sunday: 13 miles with 8 miles at marathon race pace

Monday, August 3, 2015

Head Up, Wings Out!

I'm ready to fly! Today marks the first day of my 18-week training plan for the California International Marathon. I just wrapped up 10 weeks of base building and I feel ready to tackle the rigors of training for a full marathon. 

My training plan comes from Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger and is divided into 4 mini-cycles within the whole 18 week cycle. The first 6 weeks will focus on endurance training, with the 6th week marked as a recovery week. During this cycle, I am focusing on building endurance specific to the marathon.

The plan uses 8 different categories of workouts:

  • Long Runs (any run 16+ miles at 10-20% slower than my goal marathon pace)
  • Medium-Long Runs (any run 11 to 15 miles, similar pace to long runs)
  • Marathon Pace Runs (medium-long or long runs in which most of the miles are run at goal marathon pace--8:35/mile for me)
  • General Aerobic Runs (standard moderate-effort runs up to 10 miles "regular runs)
  • Lactate Threshold Runs (tempo runs with at least 20 minutes at lactate threshold pace--7:53-8:08/mile for me)
  • Recovery Runs (short runs done at a relaxed pace with goal to keep heart rate reserve below 70%--for me 143 bpm)
  • VO2 max Intervals (600m to 1,600m run at current 5k pace--7:20/mile for me)
  • Speed Training (repetitions of 50 to 150 meters at sprint pace done towards the end of a general aerobic run)

Week 1 (17 weeks until marathon)

Goal mileage: 33 miles

Monday: Rest or cross-training (Cycle class)
Tuesday: 8 miles with 4 miles at tempo (Lactate Threshold run)
Wednesday: Rest or cross-training (travel to Sacramento + Cycle class)
Thursday: 9 miles, general aerobic run with Nani #dogmiles
Friday: Rest or cross-training (1 mile warm-up jog + Tabata)
Saturday: 12 miles, medium-long run
Sunday: 4 miles recovery run + yoga

Total (actual) Mileage: 34.3 miles

The total 18-week schedule is challenging and the weeks will get progressively harder, so it is great that this first week has 3 rest days and the total run volume is less than I've been running. 

I'm off to a great start because I rocked Marathon Training, Day 1! ;)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Do You Yasso?

As mentioned on the Perpetually Rungry Facebook Page, this  week I ran Yasso 800s on the track. Invented by Bart Yasso (coincidence?), Chief Running Officer for Runner's World magazine and an accomplished runner. Yasso 800s are 10 x 800m with an easy jog recovery equal time as the interval between 800s.

The theory is that the time of your SLOWEST 800m interval of the 10 is a good predictor of your marathon finish time. For example, if you complete your slowest 800m in 3 mins 59 seconds = 3 hour 59 minute marathon finish time (my goal).

There is some debate as to it's accuracy as a predictor and also about its benefits as a marathon workout.  As I have never used Yasso 800s to predict my marathon, I thought I would give it a shot this training cycle and see if it predicts MY finish time. I plan to run this workout 2-3 more times before CIM

Yasso 800s Splits:

  1. 3:54 (7:51/mile)
  2. 3:51 (7:45/mile)
  3. 3:54 (7:51/mile)
  4. 3:52 (7:47/mile)
  5. 3:50 (7:43/mile)
  6. 3:49 (7:41/mile)
  7. 3:50 (7:43/mile)
  8. 3:44 (7:31/mile)
  9. 3:47 (7:37/mile)
  10. 3:43 (7:29/mile)
My slowest split was 3:54, well below my goal marathon finish time. This workout is meant to be a VO2max workout and I did not run my splits at a VO2max pace. My split times based on VO2max should be between 3:27-3:36, but I paced myself using split times for my goal marathon finish time. 

It was still hard. I'll run it again in 6 weeks or so. Maybe a little faster. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

{base training: week 8} My base is BUILT

In case you have not figured it out, this week is my last base building week. Next week I start FULL-ON marathon training. I feel strong and I'm ready to rock. 
And I just found out that Nate the Great, a local friend and Ragnar teammate just registered for CIM 26.2! I'm excited to have a local friend training for the same race.

Last week was full of travel running/runcation activities and I only ran once in my usual locale. The first part of the week I was in San Jose with Paul to follow Manchester United on their pre-season tour in the United States. We were lucky enough to stay in the team hotel. I grew up in San Jose and was able to meet up with friends. I also was lucky enough to meet up with Paulette, fellow Oiselle Volée teammate and blogger, TWICE. Once for beer and once for a group run at Rancho San Antonio. I'm definitely running there when I return for my high school reunion later this year. 

Paul and I flew home on Wednesday. The very next day I traveled to Scottsdale for a fabulous girls' resort weekend. Running in July in AZ was HOT (even at 6 am temps were mid-80's), so I would run 3 miles outside and then move inside and run 4 miles on the treadmill. 

Although travel running is loads of fun, I'm glad to be home to sleep in my own bed (& recover dry-out/detox).

Base-Training: Week 8

Goal Mileage: 40+

Monday: 1.4 mile warm-up jog + tabata
Tuesday: 4.5 miles on treadmill + cycle class
Wednesday: 6-7 miles 10.8 miles, Yasso 800s speed work on track
Thursday: 8 miles+ 5 x 20 second strides 4.4 miles treadmill + cycle class+ TRX
Friday: 1 mile warm-up + tabata + 4 miles easy + TRX 1 mile run with Nani
Saturday: 5 miles 6.4 mile run with Nani + TRX Rip Trainer cert course
Sunday: 11-14 miles long run 1.2 mile warm-up, 5.3 miles track work out with the Lab Rats, 0.6 mile run to meet weekly mileage goal

Total Mileage: 40 miles

Thursday, July 23, 2015

{base training: week 7} Hit the road, Jack.

As I start the last two weeks of the base-building phase of my marathon training plan, I'm feeling stronger and ready to dive into full-on, no-holds barred marathon training. I'm excited and looking forward to the challenge and to develop my marathon racing skills. Which, to be honest, have been severely lacking.

This week, I'm on the road. The first part of the week Paul and I are in San Jose (my hometown, yay!) following Manchester United on their pre-season tour. The last part of the week, I'm in Phoenix for a girls' weekend. I tend to run more miles while I travel because: 
  1. Shiny new (to me)places to run
  2. No cross-training activities (cycle class, TRX)
Exciting news!  If you are interested in running for Oiselle, new team spots are opening up on July 31. Click HERE for more info. 

Base Training: Week 7

Goal Mileage: 42 miles

Monday: 5 miles 6 miles recovery run (Downtown San Jose)
Tuesday: 5-6 miles 6.2 miles group run (Rancho San Antonio, Los Altos)
Wednesday: 7 miles progression run on Guadalupe River Trail, speedwork (San Jose)
Thursday: 4 miles on treadmill + cycle class 4 miles easy run with Nani
Friday: 9 miles tempo run (Phoenix) 3 miles run + 4 miles on treadmill (Scottsdale)
Saturday: 5 miles (Phoenix) 3 mile run + 4.2 miles on treadmill (Scottsdale)
Sunday: 7 miles (Phoenix) 3.3 miles (Scottsdale)

Total Mileage: 41 miles