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:
Rest. I don’t like to rest on Mondays (running = sanity), but my body needed it after Sunday’s long run.
7.2 miles of fartleks to shake the legs out, followed by core work.
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.
5 miles easy + core and upper body… by which I mean I tacked 20 push-ups onto my usual core workout. I’m hardcore.
4 miles of “hills” on the treadmill, followed by core and — believe it or not — stretching.
5 easy miles, plus the same hardcore workout as Thursday.
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!
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:
AM: 7.3 miles of hills. Thanks to Labor Day, I went out to the only real hills around.
PM: Strength training
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.
How could this not make you happier?
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.
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
5 recovery miles and some core work.
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.
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.
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.
Another week of trail marathon training is in the books! I’m loving trail running, but I swear, it feels like an entirely different sport. I feel like I’m training for my first marathon again: every week, I finish a long run and think, “Can I really run another 11, 9, whatever, miles?” I’m enjoying it, though. It’s fun to be learning and trying something new!
Here’s how this week looked:
AM: 9.3 miles: 2-mile warm–up,4×1-mile at threshold pace with 3-minute rests, and 2-mile cool down. I haven’t really done speedwork this training cycle — my hard workouts have all been hills — so this was TOUGH. But the sunrise was pretty.
PM: 45ish minuts strength training
AM: 10.6 easy-paced miles. This was an inservice day, so I didn’t have to be at work as early as I do on school days, and I really enjoyed my last morning-with-daylight weekday run for a while.
PM: 30 minutes of yoga, mostly because my colleague and I talked about yoga that day, and I felt guilty for not having done it for a while. Increasing mileage + not doing yoga + two days of sitting in meetings = very angry hips and hamstrings.
7-mile recovery run with Jaylin
5.2 miles of treadmill hills.I had planned for around 7 miles, but my body didn’t adjust well to the half-hour earlier alarm and I was just dragging. This was the first day with students, so I wanted to be early and just cut it short. It was still a good workout. I also skipped my planned afternoon strength workout. I’m not sure why I bothered planning one at all — I should know by now that the first day of school is always exhausting!
5.5-mile recovery run
Although I really didn’t want to get up early again, I knew I needed to get to the trails to train. Of course, once i was there, I was glad I went. I tried a different trailhead and got to run parts of the race course that I hadn’t been on before, so that was fun. I ran 17 miles, my longest trail run yet.
I was really just trying to take a picture of these deer, not the cyclist. But that cyclist (and his two buddies) and I played leapfrog for a good chunk of my run.
No race can suck too much if you’re looking at this, right?
Rest day. I took a walk and did some yoga to work out some soreness from Saturday.
Total: 54.6 miles
Since the weather is supposed to be hot for at least another week, I’m sticking with morning runs, but I have to start either in the dark or on the treadmill, so I’m hoping I can switch to evenings soon. And on that note, I’m going to post this and get ready for bed so I don’t have another sluggish morning like Thursday.
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…
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
6 miles of sunrise fartleks, followed by core work. I love fartleks.
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.
AM: Short hills for 7.2 miles. This road and I are becoming very good friends this training cycle.
PM: Another round of basement strength.
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…
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.
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?
Last time I posted (two weeks ago), I wrote about how I was going to get better at blogging and that Spring Break would give me so much time to write. I’m a liar sometimes. Sorry. BUT I do actually have a post written and ready to go up Wednesday, and I have a REALLY EXCITING (so exciting it deserves capslock) giveaway coming up next week, so please don’t leave me.
Wednesday’s post is a catching-up-on-life kind of post, so tonight, I’ll catch you up on training the last two weeks. I got a little overzealous in clearing pictures off my phone, so I have nothing from last week. Oops.
AM: 45 minutes strength training
PM: 7.6 miles of fartleks
5.3 recovery miles, then some core work
Yasso 800s for a total of 10.5 miles. I did them on the treadmill, which is kind of cheating on Yassos because it sets the pace for you, but I had meetings in the evening, so I had to do a morning workout. I felt good, so that’s a good sign.
AM: 45 minutes strength. The only thing that got me to the gym was knowing that this was the last early-morning wake-up for over a week.
PM: 5.4 easy miles
5.2 easy miles to celebrate the start of spring break, then some core work
18-mile fast-finish long run. You probably know that fast-finish runs are my nemesis, but I nailed this one. I felt really, really good about it.
Rest. I did 30 minutes of yoga.
Total: 52 miles
I rolled out of bed before 7:00 because that’s sleeping in when you’re an old lady, and I hit the gym to lift. It was delightfully empty. Later, I ran 12.5 miles easy, in the middle of the day because it was spring break and I could.
9.1 miles easy and core work
J and I went to the Capitol to gripe to our legislators about students being overtested and underfunded, and then we headed up to Fort Collins for the State Science Fair (J had a kid competing. I had a desire to mooch his hotel room and play in Fort Collins). When we got there, I headed out for 10.2 miles with 7 at tempo — the best tempo run I’ve had this whole training cycle. It was encouraging, to say the least.
Funny story: I’d e-mailed Heidi and Logan, who both live in Fort Collins, to see if we could get together for a run. Heidi and I planned to meet at 5:30 on Thursday, so I got up all early, got ready… and waited in the lobby for quite a while. Turns out, Heidi meant 5:30 P.M. For whatever reason, I just assumed she meant A.M. So I got up early for no reason. Communicating is hard. I lifted in the highly mediocre hotel gym until it got light, then headed out for 9.1 miles, again enjoying the heck out of Fort Collins.
On Thursday, I bought trail shoes, so I was dying to try them out on Friday. Logan and Heidi had suggested a certain natural area, so I went out there. I’d run/hiked those trails a bunch of times in college, and had no idea they were part of that natural area. I am smart. I’m also not in good trail shape. It was hard, and I was secretly glad that neither of the other gals could meet me, because I would’ve been quite embarrassed by my lack of trail fitness. Funny how I can run 70 miles a week and still feel out of shape. But look, pretty.
I turned around once I hit Horsetooth Reservoir. So many swims I took here (where you’re not supposed to swim) back in the day.
I went 8.5 miles, and decided that after this marathon, I’m doing hill repeats like crazy so that I can at least kind-of handle hills next time I make it to a trail.
As tempted as I was to run more trails, I didn’t think my flatlander legs were ready for a long run on them — especially since I’m three weeks out from a flat road race. So I headed back to the bike paths for 22 miles. It felt harder than usual, but I enjoyed myself as I ran through my old stomping grounds.
45 minutes of yoga, then some foam rolling.
Total: 71.4 miles
Now, I’m technically tapering, though this week will actually probably be higher mileage than the week before last. Three weeks ’til race day! And… back to work tomorrow. I have a hunch that these last few weeks of school are going to FLY.
Anybody have any races/events coming up?
What activity are you not in shape for? I can’t even imagine how I’d do swimming…
When I trained for and ran my first six marathons, I exclusively used GU for fuel. It tasted fine and usually didn’t upset my stomach. Then, in the midst of training for marathon #7, my body decided it didn’t like GU any longer. Taking even half of one started making me nauseous and gaggy (that’s a word) — not how I wanted to feel in the middle of a training run or, especially, a race.
As the race approached, I went on a desperate quest to find new fuel. I tried Hammer, and Powerbar, and Clif chews, and several others, but nothing seemed to work. (Now I know that I was also dealing with IBS, which certainly didn’t help anything and ended up ruining my race anyway). Then one day, Jordan went to a running store and came home with little silver packets labelled “VFuel.” A love affair was born.
Disclaimer: VFuel isn’t sponsoring this post or compensating me in any way. I’m sure the company doesn’t even know I exist. I’m just thrilled to have finally found a gel that works for my freaky guts, and I wanted to spread the word.
Also, all the images in this post are borrowed from VFuel’s website.
VFuel is a Colorado company, started by ultra runners in Estes Park, so before I’d even tried the product, I liked that aspect, at least. Then I tried the gel and used it in my training, and now I’ve determined that it’s the best gel on the market, especially for those of us with sensitive stomachs. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve recently been diagnosed with IBS, and I’m learning about how different sugars affect my system. Fructose is hard for me to digest, and, as it turns out, is also hard for many people to digest, not just those with IBS –and especially while participating in endurance activities. The makers of VFuel know this, so they don’t use fructose in their gels, instead using dextrose and other easily-digestible ingredients.
Knowing that VFuel is easy on the GI system is a major selling point for me, but the taste of the gels is important, too: I don’t want to be gagging while trying to take in fuel. VFuel also delivers on the taste front. My favorite flavor is the Mountain Berry, but they’re all pretty tasty (except the Maple Bacon. Meat-flavor ranks pretty high on my list of things I don’t want on a run. But if that’s what you’re in to, go for it).
Though I’d never heard of VFuel until last summer, I was late to the party: several of my favorite athletes are featured on VFuel’s website. Folks like Sage Canaday, Timothy Olson, Reese Ruland, and other total badass ultrarunners are apparently VFuel users. Of course, that’s not why I use VFuel, but I’m going to pretend that it will make me wicked-fast and tough like those guys.
VFuel is, by far, the best gel I’ve tried, and the only one that doesn’t upset my stomach. I’ve used it on numerous runs this training cycle, and it’s never made me nauseous or worse. I highly recommend it, especially if you, too, have a sensitive stomach. Go check it out!
Why do you run so much?Ask my students, my family, my friends. I shrug and give the simple answer: I run so much because I love it.
But if I had time, every time someone asked, I could list so many reasons. If I had time, and if the questioner was willing to listen, I’d say…
I run so much because I love it. I love the challenge of a hard training run or race: the fire in my legs, the ache in my lungs, the bile in my throat, all telling me that I’m giving it my all, that no matter the outcome, when the run is over and I collapse, I can be satisfied, knowing that I stretched my limits as far as I could.
I love the euphoria following a win, and in a strange way, I love the despair following a loss — because it’s the losses that teach me, that make me analyze my weaknesses, that inspire me to work harder and come back fitter, stronger, faster than before.
I love the hard efforts, but the easy runs also own a piece of my heart. Nothing brings me peace like the serenity of a quiet early-morning run, bathed by the light of the rising sun, serenaded by the first birds of morning. Evening runs are special, too: the day’s stress melts away with the sweat, and as the miles tick away, my mental storm clouds clear. Running helps me put my world in perspective. In both a figurative and the most literal sense, running keeps me grounded.
It doesn’t matter if I’m running trails, the mountains, the streams, the wildlife, the uneven terrain keeping me from obsessing about pace and holding me in the moment; or if I’m running roads, the pavement pressing against my feet, my lungs burning, the miles passing faster and faster; or even if I’m running on the treadmill, zoning out to mindless television and playing mental games. Wherever I am, running is my happy place, my stress-relief, my alone time, my self-awareness enhancer. And I love it.
That is why I run so much.
Why do you run/bike/swim/exercise/fill in the blank so much?
Well, here we are at Sunday night again already. How does this always happen so quickly? This was a nice weekend, though; we had a teacher work day on Friday, which meant the weekend actually felt weekendy instead of grade-y. And the weather was beautiful, which made it even better.
The rest of the week was pretty decent, too, at least workout-wise. And I’ve made a tentative decision on a spring race and training between now and then… but I’ll tell you that at the end of the post. Let me summarize my workouts first. At least I actually have pictures this time, since it’s fall and I like pretty trees.
Monday: 6 miles of fartleks and about 30 minutes of strength training at the gym.
Tuesday: 5.2 easy miles amongst the pretty trees.
Wednesday: 6 miles easy and some strength training.
Note to self: these shorts are too short for single-leg deadlifts. #awkward.
Thursday: 7-mile progression run on the treadmill. I had to run in the a.m. because I had a massage in the p.m.
Friday: 3.6 miles easy. I told myself I was just going to run for half an hour so I could get back to work and catch the end of the volleyball game before going to the football game (Friday night in the life of a small-town teacher). So I ran for half an hour and then did I don’t even know what, but before I knew it, it was late and the volleyball game was over. Oops. I run by this tree every day. And every day, I take a picture because it’s pretty. So I have about 15 pictures of this tree.
Saturday: 10 miles. I intended to do 7-8, but it was gorgeous out and I was having a super time. So I just kept going. Wished I would’ve had water, though.
Sunday: Rest. I did take a walk because it was way too gorgeous out to not.
Total: 37.8 miles
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve tentatively chosen a spring marathon: Lincoln on May 3. I needed one that I could train for terrain-wise, and since I practically live in Nebraska, this seems like a good choice. Plus the timing is decent, although it’ll be a bit rough on J: He takes a group of kids to the mountains every spring, and they get back May 1, so he’ll basically come home, do laundry, sleep, and leave again with me the next morning. But he loves me, so he said okay.
So that’s the plan for now, unless something comes up.
I’ve also decided not to do a winter race series. I keep reading things that warn that this winter will be “brutally cold,” which is my least-favorite descriptor. Obviously, if I run a marathon May 3, I’ll be training through winter, but I don’t want to be committed to a specific day, then have that day be miserable. And pay money for that misery.
Instead, I’ll follow a 12-week plan from Build Your Running Body (which I finished yesterday — review coming… sometime) that incorporates running, strength, and stretching. I needed a plan to follow more than I needed races on the calendar, so this should do just fine.
Jordan just started watching Ken Burns’ National Parks documentary (we watch it once a year because it’s fantastic), so that’s my cue to go. Have a great week, friends!
Did you get out in the beautiful weather this weekend?
Do you think it’s going to be the brutally cold winter that the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting?
The week before we left on vacation, I titled my weekly workout recap post “Week 1 (Sorta),” because I didn’t want to “officially” start training until after vacation, so this one is “Week 1 (Actually).” It was a tough week — the first time I’ve topped 60 miles since October — but a great one. I had some solid training runs and some beautiful training runs with pretty flowers, so it was a win, all around.
AM: 11. miles easy
PM: 45ish minutes full-body strength, along with Greg McMillan’s Runner’s Core workout. I was at the gym for more than an hour, but I spent at least 15 minutes jabbering and not working out, since I’d been on gym hiatus for couple of months and had people to catch up with.
AM: 13.1-mile hill run…although it’s four miles from my house to the hills, so it was more like a 5-mile hill run sandwiched between 8 miles of flat. I’m going to have to start driving or biking out there for hill runs. It was a beautiful morning, either way, and the top of my favorite/least favorite hill has a pretty view: I need to find out who owns this property so I can get permission to run out there.
PM: 30ish minutes of core and stretching. Having The Bachelorette back makes it easier to make myself do these things. I tell myself I can only watch trashy TV if I’m also stretching and/or doing core.
Wednesday (National Running Day)
AM: 5.2 recovery miles. J rode his bike as I ran, which I loved. We need to find a better route, though; this isn’t exactly a bike-friendly town, so I think we’ll have to stick to the park when he comes along. PM: Basically the exact same as Tuesday.
AM: 9 miles with 4 at tempo. Tempo runs are always hard for me, and I was tired, sore (still, from Monday… clearly it had been a while since I’d lifted), and hot. I told myself to run what felt like tempo pace and not focus on the actual pace. I was pleased, when I did check, to see that I was hitting the right pace. So that was good.
PM: 45 minutes of full-body strength and McMillan core again.
Friday was my favorite running day ever. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but not by much. J had meetings in Denver (he’s kind of a big deal), and we figured there was no sense in letting the other half of his paid-for king-size hotel bed go to waste. So I left home bright and early and drove down to Green Mountain in Lakewood. I wonder why they named it that. I got in some solid trail running, which I desperately need before the Chase the Moon relay in July, and some good downhill training to prep for my marathon in September. I wanted to just go forever, but I made myself stop at 6.2 so I wouldn’t be too sore for Saturday’s long run. And I took a selfie, because that’s what bloggers do, right?
Then, I found J and borrowed his hotel key, cleaned up, and went to Athleta and bought some new shorts with a gift card I’d had since Christmas. It was pretty much the best day ever.
I was excited to do my long run in Denver and get a change of scenery. Since J needed to check out of the hotel before his meeting started (i.e. before I was done running), I drove to my brother’s house and ran from there. He lives by a lake, so I did a couple of lake laps, then hopped on the Platte River Trail, which goes through downtown Denver. I didn’t take any pictures because I was too lazy to dig my phone of its pocket on my Camelback. I am a good blogger, remember? You can go look at Amy’s blog; she lives near my brother and runs around that lake all the time. And she is a better blogger than I am, so she has pictures. Too bad she was running Ragnar Snowmass this weekend, or we could’ve run together.
Anyway, I ran 17 miles (it was supposed to be 16, but math is hard), then went to brunch with my brother, which was nice. I’m not sure why, but that 17-miler really took it out of me. I was beat. I guess it was a combo of the high-mileage week, the trails and mediocre sleep Friday, and the slowness of the brunch restaurant, which made me miss that 45-minute refueling window by a long shot (but they comped one of our meals, so it wasn’t all bad).
30 minutes easy yoga. It felt amazing on my tight hips.
Totals: 61.6 miles running, 3ish hours strength/stretch/yoga
So overall, not a bad week at all. It feels good to be training hard again!
How was your week? Are you training for anything right now?
Do you ever get to tag along with your spouse on work-related trips? What do you do while he/she is working?
Oh, hey blog. Guess I haven’t been around here since this time last week, have I? Whoops. And it’s looking like this might be par for the course for the next couple of weeks, but I’ll try really hard to make it back more often so that I still have readers to read the guest posts I’ve got scheduled for while we’re on vacation.
I’m sure run-on sentences like that one will really help the reader situation, too.
Anyway, this was another busy week, as most are during the last month of school. And the word of the week was “windy” — we had four straight days of 50 mph winds. It was not my favorite. But I finally hit 50 miles and got in all my scheduled Nike Training Club workouts, so the week wasn’t a total bust.
Here’s how it went:
Monday: AM: 30 minute NTC total-body workout
PM: I had grand plans to run outside… but then this happened:
Yeah, no. Treadmill it was for 7 miles of intervals/fartleks/whatever you want to call it (isn’t it fartleks if you go by minutes instead of miles for the fast part?)
Tuesday: AM: 8 miles easy
PM: 45 minutes NTC yoga after another round of unsuccessful interviews.
Wednesday: AM: 5 miles of intervals/fartleks/whatevers plus 45 minute NTC full body workout. We had an evening event, so I had to get up extra-early and squish the workouts together.
Thursday: AM: 30 minutes NTC leg and core workout
PM: The weather gods had finally spent their wrath, apparently, and we were back to our normal-for-springtime 20-30 mph winds AND we had no evening commitments, so I ran 8.2 lovely outdoor miles.
Friday: 7.1 easy miles outside, then some core work. I took my sweet time about it, since J was supervising a middle school dance (poor soul) and I didn’t have any reason to rush.
Saturday: Normally, I run long on Saturdays and take Sundays off, but for the next few weeks, I think Sunday’s going to have to be the LR day. I just did a 45-minute NTC total-body workout, and then spent the rest of the day doing this: I love flowers. I spend way too much money on them every year, and buy way too many and end up buying more pots and/or cramming them too full, but I love it.
Sunday: 15-mile long run. It feels good to run first thing in the morning in a skirt and t-shirt. It also feels good to be getting my long runs built back up. And I saw some baby geese, but I had my phone in a ziplock (to protect it from my nasty sweat) in my pocket and didn’t want to dig it out. They basically looked like this:
And that’s a wrap. I’m hoping to hold mileage between 50-55 for the next couple of weeks, then officially start marathon training after vacation. I mean, I’ll run on vacation (because who goes on a beach vacation and doesn’t run on the beach?) but I don’t want to be tethered to a training schedule there.
And in case you were wondering, here’s why I need a vacation:
Ok, good night, friends.
What’s going on in your world?My blog reading and commenting has been just slightly more frequent than my posting, so let me know if I’ve missed something!
Do you follow a training schedule on vacation, or just go with the flow?
And one more question… I’m thinking about writing a “what not to do in the teaching job interview” post, because I’ve learned a lot from being on this side of things. I know I’ve got several readers who are teachers… would you be interested in such a post, even though it doesn’t really fit the “genre” of this blog?