Tag Archives: blue sky marathon

Blue Sky Trail Marathon Training, Week 11

My second-to-last week of training is done, and tomorrow starts race week. The second-to-last week is always my least favorite: close enough to the race that I’m tapering, but far enough away that my brain thinks we should still be killing it. Taper madness is real, folks.

Do I make a tapir/taper pun every training cycle? Yes. Does it ever get old? No.

Here’s how this week looked:

Monday: 

Rest. I don’t like to rest on Mondays (running = sanity), but my body needed it after Sunday’s long run.

Tuesday: 

7.2 miles of fartleks to shake the legs out, followed by core work.

Wednesday: 

10.1 miles with Jaylin. It’s so fun to have a running buddy! I love my solo runs, too, but I’ve really enjoyed these weekly meet-ups.

Thursday: 

5 miles easy + core and upper body… by which I mean I tacked 20 push-ups onto my usual core workout. I’m hardcore.

Friday: 

4 miles of “hills” on the treadmill, followed by core and — believe it or not — stretching.

Saturday: 

5 easy miles, plus the same hardcore workout as Thursday.

Sunday: 

10 miles easy. This was the first long run of training that I haven’t gone to the trails, and I”m pretty proud of myself for making it to the trails consistently. I didn’t go today because I figured it was silly to drive twice as long as I’d run, especially since I had a LOT of housework and grading to do. The work has been done now; one more short trail run would probably not impact my race.

Total: 41.3 miles

One week from today, I’ll toe the line at my very first trail race. I wish I’d decided to run it sooner — I’d feel a lot more confident with 16 or 18 weeks of training under my belt instead of 12. But I can’t change it now; all that’s left is to get out there, try my best, and most importantly, have fun. Wish me luck!

Any main events coming up for you soon? 

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Blue Sky Trail Marathon Training, Week 9

I can hardly believe it, but my second-to-last week of heavy training is finished. I’ve got one more big week, then a two-week taper, and then the race. I wish I’d decided earlier to do this race, so I would’ve had time for a 16- or 18-week training plan… I’m feeling less ready than I’d like. But there’s no going back, so I’ll just have to see what a 12-week plan will do.

Here’s the rundown on Week 9:

Monday:

AM: 7.3 miles of hills. Thanks to Labor Day, I went out to the only real hills around.
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PM: Strength training

Tuesday:

11.1 miles “easy.” It’s still a little warm out in the early evenings, but it’s nice to decompress after work. I’m sure Jordan is also grateful for my return to evening running, as it makes me much more pleasant for the rest of the night.
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H
ow could this not make you happier?

Wednesday:

I ran to the gym, spent three miles of steep climbing on the incline trainer, then ran home for 5 miles total. It took me the same amount of time as my 7-miler Monday. Hopefully it’ll make me stronger come race day! I also did some core work when I got home. I’m hoping that, too, will make me stronger come race day.

Thursday:

AM: 10 miles with the same group I’ve been running with the last couple of weeks. We planned nine but math is hard.

PM: Strength training

Friday: 

5 recovery miles and some core work.

Saturday:

Jordan had a meeting (and thus a hotel room) in Golden, so you know I had to crash that party and get in a long trail run. I ran 20 miles at Green Mountain (the Lakewood one, not the Boulder one). It was hard, but the climbs are pretty similar to the first part of the race. And the views were not too shabby.
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I intended to run 21 miles, but I ran out of water, and it was getting hot out. I didn’t really want to risk passing out on the trail, so I called it a day. Still, I got in almost 3000 feet of vertical, which for this flatlander is pretty darn good. I’m planning to run there again next weekend, since we’ll be in town for my brother’s wedding.

Sunday: 

Rest. I didn’t even do yoga, though I probably should have, as I’m a bit sore and stiff from yesterday.

Total: 58.4 miles… 12 miles short of what my peak weeks are for road marathon training. I’m not sure what to think about that.

Well, I’m working all of three days this week (yay, wedding!), so I’d better get rested up. Ha. Have a great week!

What’s your usual peak mileage?

What does a run with lots of vertical look like for you? Go ahead, ultra-runners. Make my 3000 feet look paltry.

Blue Sky Trail Marathon Training, Week 5

I decided to go back to posting training recaps on Sundays. I write these as much for myself as for you guys, and now that school is starting again, my life is easier if I follow a routine. My plan is to post on Sundays and Thursdays again, but don’t be surprised if Thursdays don’t happen for the first few weeks of school.

This was my fifth week of trail marathon training. I finally had another 50-mile week, so I feel more like I’m actually training, if that makes sense. Let’s pretend that 50 isn’t where I usually start  my training, and now I’m worried because I’m barely hitting 50 seven weeks out…

Monday: 

AM: My plan was to do a long incline workout on the treadmill. At 3.8 miles, I paused it and hopped off to use the bathroom, and when I came back, the incline had stopped working! Not wanting to lose my momentum, I hustled outside and ran three miles at tempo pace, then a cool-down. It wasn’t what I was planning, but it ended up being a solid workout nonetheless. (Side note: I later found out that my treadmill isn’t broken; it  just needed recalibrated. Huge relief.)

PM: Basement strength training, per usual

Tuesday: 

6 miles of sunrise fartleks, followed by core work. I love fartleks. IMG_1983

Wednesday: 

8 miles easy… although they didn’t feel easy, because it was unusually muggy. I’m sure my southern friends would scoff at my definition of “muggy,” but it was rough for me.

Thursday: 

AM: Short hills for 7.2 miles. This road and I are becoming very good friends this training cycle.
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PM: Another round of basement strength.

Friday: 

6.3 recovery miles. My training schedule called for another interval workout, but I’d already done three quality workouts this week. Another one, especially the day before my long run, just seemed like a request for injury, so I took it easy instead. And I played with the camera timer…
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Saturday: 

15.2 trail miles. I randomly ran a few miles with a woman who went to high school with my husband and is training for the same race I am. Small world. I also fell THREE TIMES. Graceful I am not. Don’t worry, I’m not hurt. Just dumb.

At least I had pretty things to look at while I fell on my face. Maybe this is why I fell: too busy gawking at the scenery to look at where my feet were.
At least I had pretty things to look at while I fell on my face. Maybe this is why I fell: too busy gawking at the scenery to look at where my feet were.

Sunday: 

Rest

Total: 50.3 miles

Five down, seven to go.

Have you ever fallen while running? Did you feel as foolish as I did?

Teacher friends: when do you (or did you) go back to school?

Blue Sky Trail Marathon Training, Weeks 3-4

I’m now into week five of training for my first trail race. That means I’ve got just over seven weeks to get ready to run 26.2 miles on trails. So far, the farthest I’ve run on trails is a little over 11. Gulp.

The last two weeks of training were a little different: I did a (very) small taper for Chase the Moon, and the following week was a cutback/recovery week. Here’s how they looked:

Week 3

Monday: 
6.4 miles of hills. This is why I need to write these recaps weekly: now I can’t remember if they were long treadmill hills or short real-life hills. My training log just says “hills.”

Tuesday:
AM: 7 miles easy.
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I love Fitsnap. If you follow me on Instagram, you can see my overuse of Fitsnap almost every day!

PM: Strength training in my basement.

Wednesday: 

6 miles easy. My friend Jaylin, who originally got me into this whole distance-running thing, ran together. We’ve had a hard time getting our schedules to align very often, so it was great to get together!

Thursday: 

6 miles with fartleks (still my favorite workout)

Friday-Saturday:

30 miles over 12 hours at the Chase the Moon relay. I guess I’m just gonna have to write that recap, as I haven’t seen any sign of official pictures.

Sunday: 

Rest; we did a lovely 5-mile, easy hike.

Total: 56.4 miles

Week 4

Monday: 

4.1 miles at recovery pace, just testing my legs and making sure they felt okay after the weekend.

Tuesday: 

AM: 7 miles easy

PM: Basement strength work

Wednesday: 

6 miles easy, again with Jaylin. Two weeks in a row is pretty great for us! With school starting, we’re not sure if we can keep making it work, but we’ll try.

Thursday: 

5.3 miles easy. I intended to do another strength workout in the afternoon, but I went into work to start prepping my classroom, and I came home with a killer headache. I took a nap instead of a workout. I regret nothing.

Friday:

We were headed to my in-laws’ for the weekend, so I took advantage of the last Friday of summer break and headed up to Devil’s Backbone for a “long” run of 10.3 miles.
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This is where I get to run a marathon in seven weeks. I don’t mind those views!

I also saw a mama and baby deer. This was the best picture I could get with my phone, even though they let me watch them for quite a while.
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Saturday: 

6-mile recovery run

Sunday: 

Rest. We spent over 8 hours pulling weeds. I would’ve much rather been running.

Cutback week total: 38.7 miles.

This is lower mileage than I’ve run before in marathon training, but all my runs are scheduled by time this round, and since trails and hills are slow, my mileage is lower. We’ll just see how this race goes, and plan future trail race training schedules accordingly. Because I can already tell you, there will be future trail races.

This week, I’m back to a more normal week, with several quality runs, so hopefully I’ll keep getting stronger and faster. Stay tuned to see if this training is sufficient to keep me from dying during a trail race.

What does your typical week of training look like? 

Best trail you’ve ever run? 

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!
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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? 

That Time I “Wasn’t Doing a Marathon this Year”

Remember a month or so ago, when I kept whining because I didn’t have a goal? Remember how I told you that I didn’t want to run a fall marathon because I just had too much going on this summer?

Yeah. About that…

blue sky reg

I signed up for a trail marathon. I might be insane, as I still live in non-trailland. But I want to do this, even if it scares me and will be hard and will be by far the slowest marathon I’ve ever run. Plus signing up for it gives me a reason to get to the trails as much as possible between now and October 4.

This will be me the next three months:
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(I found this on Facebook, but the original source is in the bottom corner, so I’m not plagiarizing, right?)

I found a trail marathon training plan on the internet, and I’ll be pretty much following it, but since I don’t have trails to train on daily, here’s my general plan:

Monday: Long hills on the treadmill (because that’s the only place I can run uphill for more than a mile)
Tuesday: Mid-distance, easy pace
Wednesday: Double recovery runs
Thursday: Short hill repeats (done on real hills — the only ones I’ve got)
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That road and I are going to become very good friends.
Friday: Recovery
Saturday: Long, on trails as often as possible
Sunday: Rest

Monday and Thursday will be interchangeable, depending on the weather and my schedule, and when the race gets closer, I’ll move my long run to Sunday, but that’s the general idea. I’ll also keep strength training 2-3 times a week and do core work 5-6 times.

Last Saturday, since I’d committed myself to this thing, I got up at no o’clock in the morning and drove to Devil’s Backbone near Loveland to train on trails and, as that’s part of the race course, see just what I’d gotten myself into.

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Yeah… definitely not regretting this choice. At all. I do need to learn how to run on this stuff,
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but my Instagram friends assured me that all it takes is practice and accepting that I need to slow down.

I’m nervous and anxious, but mostly excited. Here’s to new challenges!

What’s your next big goal?

What’s the last thing you did that scared you?