Blue Sky Trail Marathon Training: Weeks 1-2

Remember when I signed up for a trail marathon, even though I live in the flatlands, because I’m crazy awesome?

One nice thing about having a race scheduled and a training plan is that it gives me something to blog about. I usually write these recaps on Sundays, but it’s still summer for 2.5 more weeks, so I’m rebelling against even self-imposed schedules.

I’ve never run a trail race, so this is a new experience for me.I wasn’t (am not) sure how to train for a trail race, as opposed to road races, so I found this trail marathon training plan online and modified it (somewhat). My goal here is to have fun, try something new, and learn about trail running, while still prioritizing other parts of my life (like my family and my job), so if you’ve followed me long, you’ll notice that my mileage is lower than any of my other marathon training cycles, and that’s okay (or so I keep telling myself).  I’m trying not to take myself too seriously and just enjoy the training and, eventually, the race itself.

Since this is a 12-week plan, training officially started the week we were on vacation, but I’d been working to build my mileage and I hit 50 miles the week before, so the first week of training was actually a bit of a cutback — perfect, since all of my vacation miles were run on a treadmill or in tiny circles around the boat. (This was also when my phone’s camera broke, so sorry about the lack of pictures).

Week 1: July 13-19

Monday: 7 miles of “hills” on the treadmill

Tuesday: 5 miles easy (boat circles!)

Wednesday: 5 miles of “hill” intervals

Thursday: 7 miles. 63 circles. This was not my favorite thing ever.

Friday: 5 miles easy

Saturday: Rest — travelling allll day.

Sunday: 6 slow, easy miles, back at home. I was super tired, since we got home after 2 A.M. and my body thinks it must wake up no later than 6:30, regardless of circumstances.

Total: 35 miles

I didn’t strength train at all on vacation, aside from a couple of short core workouts and some lunges on the track. The tiny boat gym was packed every time I tried to lift, so I gave up because I’m super motivated.

One interesting thing about this training plan is that all the runs are measured in minutes rather than miles. The McMillan plan I’ve used for my last few marathons measures easy runs in minutes, but long and speed/tempo workouts in miles, so this is new. The first week’s “long” run was 60 minutes — hence the lower overall mileage and the seven miles of circles.

Week 2: July 20-26

Monday: AM: 5 miles of long, slow climbing on the treadmill (the only place I can do long, slow climbs around here)

PM: Bodyweight/dumbbell strength training. I’ve been using this routine from Runner’s World. Why am I not going to the gym, you ask? Because The Bachelorette. (Don’t spoil it for me; I still have to watch the finale. I despise both guys who are left, though, so I’m not that concerned about spoilers).

Tuesday: 10.1 easy miles. I wasn’t sure I’d get in the 90-minute run scheduled this weekend, so I figured one double-digit day couldn’t hurt.

Wednesday: Double run: 5 miles in the A.M. and 5.1 in the P.M., both at recovery pace.

Thursday: AM: 5.7 miles of hill repeats — real ones, albeit short ones. At least real hills have downhills, even if they’re 0.5 miles or shorter.

PM: Another Iron Strength workout, followed by some foam rolling

Friday: 5.2 miles easy

Saturday: My future sister-in-law’s bachelorette party was this weekend in Beaver Creek, so I got to run on some beautiful trails — and I got a new phone (thanks, Apple!) on Friday, so I could document it for you!
IMG_1899 IMG_1898 IMG_1895 IMG_1893

Not bad, right?

This was, of course, another “by time” run. I ran 8 miles in 90 minutes (i.e. two miles fewer and in more time than Tuesday’s road run), which makes me nervous about actually finishing this trail marathon… and also makes me think that I should spend more time running and less time photographing (or at least pause my watch when I have a photo opp). But the race has a 9-hour cutoff, so I WILL finish it, even if I have to crawl.

Total: 44.1 miles

Two weeks down, ten to go. Gulp.

Experienced trail runners: Any tips for getting faster? 

Where’s the prettiest place you’ve run lately? 

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4 thoughts on “Blue Sky Trail Marathon Training: Weeks 1-2”

  1. To get faster on the trail… run on the trail. Although I have never, ever worried about my pace during a trail run or race. For me, trail is all about the journey. Also, it’s so hard to compare paces for trail runs because the terrain is so different. Even the same route on certain days could be wetter/muddier/more leaves and then it alters the pace.

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