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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Marathon training week 3

Training for Twin Cities Marathon, October 9:

Monday: 6 miles easy
Tuesday: 4 mils total warm up and cool down. Workout was a ladder, which is probably the most interesting workout I'll do with Hanson's - their track workouts are mostly repeats of the same distance, like 12x40 etc. So this was a nice change. 400 (1:32), 800 (3:11), 1200 (4:44), 1600 (6:30), 1200 (4:48), 800 (3:12), 400 (1:32). With 400 jog between each. I didn't hate it, and I was close to the right pace most of the time. It was a trillion degrees.
Wednesday: Morning rest, but in the evening I went to the New Orleans Track Club 2 mile summer series. That got me about 4 miles, including warm up and cool down (ha, as if I needed a warm-up). The short distance of the race made me feel like it was ok to sub it for a rest day, and to continue my regular schedule, which included a tempo ten hours later. 
Thursday: Total close to 11 miles, including a 7 mile tempo. Despite the heat, I managed to limit it to one real "break" at mile 6.15 (seriously, why?). I did have another shoelace untie at mile 3.5, but I retied it quickly. I don't know what it is about the Kinvara laces, but mine always come untied. This never happens with other shoes. My Kinvara laces even came undone in my PR marathon, and I had to stop and tie them - restarting was so miserable. I think I'm going to save my laces from the next pair of non-Kinvara shoes I get rid of and switch the laces out. Anyway, this tempo felt much better, so I think I am getting a little better at them. Pace 7:12 for the tempo portion.
Friday: 8 miles easy. These day-after-tempo runs are SO slow. My "easy" paces for Hanson's should be 8:40 - 8:59ish on recovery days, and I actually don't even know if I'm hitting that. I feel like I'm crawling.
Saturday: 14 miles with 15 hill repeats. I actually skipped my favorite hill out on the levee because I just didn't think I could run 1.5 miles out to the hill, 1.5 miles on the hill, and 1.5 miles back with no shade at all. It was probably close to 100 degrees on the levee, as it's totally exposed and the asphalt absorbs heat from the sun. The heat index was already 100 when I checked the weather at 7 am, so...kind of a warm run. Hanson's has long run paces that are more like a moderate pace than easy, and the range is broad. I've been in the 7:40's to 7:50's, all within range, so far. This run was 7:48, but it felt harder than last week, the high mileage this week plus the heat must be getting to me! 
Sunday: 7 miles easy on dirt track. Except it didn't feel easy. It felt very hard to run about 9 minute miles. Once again, we got an oddly cool day (the low was 77!) on a day when I didn't need it. Can I please get a cool day for my long run?

Total: 60 miles - probably one of my highest mileage weeks ever. But that's partly due to running on my rest day, which I did in preparation for a potential switch of rest days. I think I am going to switch to a Monday day off. This will allow me to run the day before my tempos, which felt better this week. However, it means that I don't run the day before track, so that might just change which day is more of a struggle!

I slipped on my strength work this week, mostly because of some early work mornings and evening events. But I am going to get back to it this week: I can feel a difference already. My muscles are fatigued and my hips are a little stiff. I think strength and weights make a big difference in level of muscle fatigue, which in turn impacts how much of the workload my joints take on. So next week, back to real, legitimate strength every single day. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

A better tempo

I mentioned last week that I have struggled with my tempo runs - basically with the part that makes them a tempo, NOT STOPPING!
The way my schedule is set up, I run track on Tuesday (8 to 10 miles), rest on Wednesday, then tempo on Thursday (up to 11 miles now and climbing). So far, Thursdays have been hard for me: I get up early to fit the miles in, so I'm tired, and I'm running in heavy early morning humidity. The no-stops-for-water part has been impossible. But this Thursday was a slight improvement: I think I'm headed in the right direction.

Thursday should have been awful: I had to get out of the house very early so I could be at work an hour early for some training, and a late coffee on Wednesday meant I was up all night and only got about three hours of sleep. But something else was different, and in a good way: I wasn't running on totally rested legs. I ran four miles the night before because of the Summer Series two mile race. And instead of making my legs heavy and tired, I was more ready to run. I have always known that I don't run well the day after a rest day: that's why I run even the day before a marathon. So perhaps I need to swap an easy day on my schedule with my Wednesday rest day.

Not that my tempo was perfect. I actually had two small stops - one right at the turnaround point in the 7-mile tempo, but that was just to very quickly tie my shoe, and I waited until the turnaround when I'd be slowing to make a tight U-turn on the levee anyway to minimize the benefit from rest; the other was just mentally giving up. I planned my tempo on the Fly (the park on the river) and the levee so it would be a straight out and back with no temptation to stop at a water fountain. However, I DID pass a fountain: right at the beginning and end of the tempo I passed the fountain on the Fly. At mile 6.15 I stopped for water! And that was just me being a wimp. Of course as soon as I stopped I was kicking myself when I saw how close I was to being entirely finished. I ended up with a 7:12 average, which is the low end of my goal. If I exclude the last mile (assuming I had a speed benefit from my water break) it was a 7:13 average.

Two take-aways from this Thursday's tempo:

  1. I run fast better if I don't take a rest day first
  2. I need to plan a route away from tempting fountains

Perhaps it's time to make some schedule and route changes!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

"Day off" Summer Series 2-miler

Wednesdays are my off days, but how could I say no to the last NOTC summer series 2-miler in City Park? Of course I had to go!
After work, I changed into running clothes grabbed my Garmin - just as it started raining. The NOTC's Facebook page didn't say the event was cancelled, so I grabbed my and David's running ball caps and headed out anyway. It was still sprinkling by the time I registered for the race (it's free for club members, $10 for non-members), but as I warmed up the rain stopped. I was supposed to meet David at the start with his hat per our text conversation, but since it wasn't raining I ran back to my car and dropped them off. I stopped for this quick selfie to show you how much I was sweating with under a mile run at this point!
Dripping sweat after less than a mile. Yay..

Back at the start, I expected to run about 13 minutes for the 2 miler. Yeah, not super fast, but that's about the level of speed and fitness that I am basing my marathon training off of. If I was way off that pace, I'd definitely need to reconsider some of the workouts I'm running. If I was a little over 13 - just a few seconds - I'd blame my tired legs: I did speed work Tuesday morning and a squats workout late Tuesday night and my legs felt tired.

I started out ten to twelve rows back, but luckily the start did not feel very congested. We were moving freely in about a tenth of a mile. It was sketchy at first, though - the path was wet and there were a lot of puddles, so my footing wasn't very secure. I held back to avoid sprinting away with the high school boys.
It was, unfortunately, very muggy. I hoped the rain would cool the temperatures, but instead the sun came back out and steam floated off the grass. It wasn't the worst 2-miler temperatures I've endured, but it was very humid. Mile one hit just as I passed a girl I'd been running behind the whole time, and it was a 6:28. Right on pace!
The second half was pretty uneventful, as I just tried to maintain pace. I was passed by a fast group, which I didn't like, especially since one was a girl being paced by a well-known runner (one of the "local elites", as I call them) and I was dreadfully jealous that she was so fast in the second half. My legs definitely didn't like the pace, but I ignored the soreness and didn't totally fall apart. I managed not to puke and finished in 12:57.

So, I'm just about where I should be right now. Yes, I wish I was faster - I ran my PR 2 miler at one of these events, and I think it was 12:18? Much faster. I want to get back there, but I'm not getting any younger. I'll take a 12:57 for now.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Marathon training week 2

Training for Twin Cities Marathon, October 9:

Monday: 6+ miles easy
Tuesday: Speed work. I only got in a half-mile warm up, which made the reps a little harder: 1200's in about 4:47, which could have been faster. Two and a half miles to cool down. It was dreadfully hot. I brought two towels and a trash bag in an attempt to keep my car clean.
Wednesday: Off.
Thursday: Tempo. Slightly better: Water stop at mile four, and a quick shoelace break later, but mostly consistent: 7:21, 7:10, 7:10, 7:10, 7:15, 7:08, 7:14
Friday: 10 miles easy, including a really bad fall at mile 8.5. I also worked in 14 hill repeats: I should have done more, but the train was coming, and I didn't want to get stranded on the river side of the park.
Saturday: 8+ mile long run...although this was not my longest run at all this week! Nice weather in the 80's - astonishing.
Sunday: 6 miles easy on dirt track. 

Total: 49 miles. I also did strength four days a week and core three days a week, plus Myrtles every day. I am definitely questioning my goal given how hard my tempo runs have seemed. Am I overdoing it? Or is it just hot? 
Otherwise, nothing feels injured except my ripped up knees and arm, so that's positive. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Oh, this again.

I really wish I could stop falling on my face while I run.
The left knee is more cut up, but the bruising on the's severe. Ouch.
I fell because I was rubbernecking the construction in the park. Our park path is being repaved, so not only was I running along the driveway entrance where I don't usually run as I skirted the construction, I was also not paying attention - and I tripped on a speed bump. Then I bit the dust in front of a dozen construction workers, nearly all of whom gallantly offered their help (accompanied by some leering. Bleah).
I can move fairly well, so hopefully I didn't do any lasting damage. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A marathon experiment: Hanson's marathon method

After some internal debate, bouncing thoughts off David, and making a pros and cons list, I decided to train for my next marathon using the Hanson's method.

 In brief, the plan relies on cumulative fatigue in the legs with weekly speed work that becomes more marathon-specific closer to race day and a weekly tempo at marathon pace. The long runs are shorter than many plans, maxing at 16 miles. I know there are mixed thoughts on Hanson's, so I thought I'd share my pros and cons list:

  • Now is a good time to experiment: an early fall race after a hot summer will automatically be slow anyway.
  • Shorter long runs make more sense in the summer, when long runs for hours in the high 90's are brutal. 
  • Not-insane paces for speed work seems doable even for injury prone me. 
  • The long runs are run at a reasonable pace. I really don't like slow long runs. Hanson's aren't fast, but they're more a moderate pace. 
  • The book was on sale for $7.
  • I don't really care about this race very much, since I mostly registered as an excuse to visit my brother.


  • Long miles on weekdays will be hard to manage.
  • Speed work and tempo every week might lead to injury. I have never done well with two hard days per week.
  • I often have stomach upset when trying to eat during long runs and races, and I worry that long runs no longer than 16 miles won't give me adequate practice and experimentation time with fueling.
  • I'm afraid I'll bonk.
  • I'm afraid I won't be able to hit my tempo paces. I hate tempos.

Has anyone else done Hanson's? What are your thoughts, whether or not you've completed one of their training plans?

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Marathon training week 1

Training for Twin Cities Marathon, October 9:

Monday: Four on the Fourth race plus warm up and cool down for 6 miles total.
Tuesday: Speed work: 2 mile warm up, 5x1000 at goal 4 min with 400m active rest, 2 mile cool down. 3:59, 3:58, 4:00, 4:02, 4:00. All by myself on the track in super high humidity. My track is right next to NOPSI the Sewage and Water Board, and is surrounded by water tanks that fill the morning air with steamy dampness. I was still tired from the race, so this felt hard.
Wednesday: Off.
Thursday: Tempo fail again. Warm up 2 miles, six mile tempo: 7:12, 7:11, 7:12, 7:09, 7:14, 7:07. But I had to stop for water after mile four. I was dying. Cool down 2 miles.
Friday: 6.5 miles easy.
Saturday: 12 mile long run at 7:46 pace with 15 levee repeats. I remembered to wear a hat to protect against the beating sun on the levee, which helped. 
Sunday: 7 miles easy on dirt track. I woke up to an astonishingly cool morning, and had a pleasant run in just 83 degrees. I won't see that kind of weather again until September!

Total: 50 miles. FIFTY. I averaged under 30 per week for my last marathon (although a lot of that was due to missing weeks with runner's knee - if you exclude that, it was probably closer to 42 miles). I just think 50 is a lot. Hopefully I won't get injured. I am trying to be diligent to strengthen every day and I never miss my Myrtles!