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 VolĂ©e 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! ;)