I am back at it after a little bit of down time post-marathon. I’m gearing up for the Wine 10K in Birmingham on 03.03.18. That only gives me 5 weeks to get ready, but I am hopeful that my marathon fitness will carry me through and that I can just sharpen up my speed some over the next few weeks.
New year, new you! Is this the year you take your running to the next level? And maybe that has you considering hiring a running coach to help you get there. But how the heck do you pick one?
Since 2016, I’ve gone “coach shopping” five or six times and I’ve worked with four different coaches. I’ve talked to about 20 coaches on the phone and looked at countless websites. I thought I knew what I was doing at the beginning of this process, but it turns out I did not. I learned an awful lot along the way, however, so if January has you asking yourself how to go about hiring running coach, here are some of the lessons I learned.
Spoiler alert: Stick a fork in me, I might be done.
I decided to run the Houston Marathon fairly soon after the Richmond Marathon in November. I felt like I would recover from Richmond quickly since I basically ran 18 miles hard, then struggled the last 8 with massive quad cramps, finishing in 2:52:39. Richmond was a good starting point as my first serious race back after having baby #3, and before the quad cramps I ran those 18 miles at 2:47-2:48 pace. My ultimate A-goal was to run under 2:45 and qualify for the Olympic Trials. I thought I’d get there by building on my Richmond performance with a little more training and going for it at Houston.
Logistically, it also made sense. I didn’t feel the need to take a lot of time off after Richmond, and I didn’t have the patience to start over and go through a typical 12-week marathon training cycle. I recently read an interview with Sara Hall where she explained her attitude towards racing frequently. She likes the approach of generally staying prepared and ready to race whatever comes up, rather than relying on “perfect training cycles” for a single goal race. I agree.
So after a few days completely off after Richmond, and two weeks of easy building back up, I felt ready to train again.
The most common running question I got from friends this week: So, are you tapering now? Hmmm. I guess so? I asked Coach Mick and he said he prefers the term peaking, from Greg McMillan. Therefore no, I am not tapering; I am peaking. I like that term much better anyway.
Monday, 1/22, Morning Crew – Swim 2000
I was pretty sore and creaky after Sunday’s 20 miler, but these Monday morning recovery swims have been pure gold. I felt SO much better afterwards. I still ducked in to see the Maestro for a little dry needling and massage just to keep my cranky right hip in working order. Read more >>
My hamstrings have been awfully cranky lately. Am I sitting too much? Am I now officially decrepit? I’m familiar with the hamstring stiffness that comes from sitting at a desk all day, but usually it works itself out after 20 minutes or so of warmup jogging and I can do my workout with no issues. Lately, with the cold weather and wind, even a 40-minute super-easy warmup jog isn’t cutting it. My hamstrings bitch at me as I attempt to launch into 800m intervals on the track: their combined age is 82 years old, they’ll have me know, and they demand more respect!
While I have been training consistently and building since the fall, these were arguably the best two weeks I have strung together in 18+ months. It’s not even about the mileage, more so just feeling the consistency pay off, sticking to routine but also adjusting when the routine changes (because that is life!). I’ve also been able to get outside for some more runs the last few weeks which is really helpful-I love the treadmill but I love being able to run outside too.
January 15-January 21
This was a good week that actually just about every day went as planned except maybe Sunday. I got all my key runs/workouts in before Saturday night so we could enjoy my big work event and not worry (also our first overnight without Hannah). Let’s be honest here, it’s a damn good thing I didn’t have a long run to do Sunday morning and probably also good I didn’t have to put my mom hat back on until like 3pm.
Monday: 5 easy miles (8:23 avg) TM @ 0-2%
Tuesday: 10 miles (7:06 avg) w/ 3 x 1.5 (6:35avg), 4 x 400 (5:55 avg) + 19 minutes Jasyoga
Wednesday: Late PM 5 Snowy miles (8:35 avg) + 12 minutes yoga
Thursday: Late PM 5 snowy/icy miles (8:33 avg)
Friday: 8 miles (6:59 avg) w/ 6 x 1k @ 5:58 avg
Saturday: 15 mile LSD on the mill (8:10)
Sunday: 2 recovery miles with pepper (9:34)
Week Total Mileage: 50 miles
Total fitness/strength time: 46 minutes
Beers Drank: Guinness (boring on my beers lately!) [the Guinness was a night cap…after wine & manhattans all night…oof]
Baby Milestones: Tooth coming in more, perfection of ‘dada’, planking, mobile & first overnight with my parents (yeah, it was a big week for her!)
January 22-January 28
This week was shifted around a little with schedule changes but still shook out to be a good week and got what I wanted done. I normally would leave more than 1 day between my workouts but I made sure to take my Thursday recovery miles super easy to rest up. I think my favorite run of the week though was Sunday- my first long run outside since Christmas eve. I needed the two hours solo, of fresh air, sunshine and hills! I went faster than planned but at no point felt like I was maxing out or anything- it was controlled and comfortable so I went with it!
Monday: Late night 3.6 mile outdoor recovery run (8:51 avg) + 5 x strides (5:37 avg)
Tuesday: Late night 6 treadmill miles (8:28 avg)
Wednesday: 8 Miles total (6:55 avg) w/ 3 x 1 mile cruise (6:17), 5 x 400 (88 avg)
Thursday: Early Morning treadmill recovery miles (8:36 avg)
Friday: 9 outdoor miles total w/ 8 x 800 @ 2:59 avg.
Saturday: 4 STROLLER miles (8:23 avg)
Sunday: 16 Sunny hilly solo long run miles (7:38 avg) [791 ft gain]
Week Total Mileage: 53 Miles
Beers Drank: A Milk Stout (I’m on a hunt to find the name, I thought I remembered and I don’t!- it was good though! A Long Island beer I think?)
Baby Milestones: Now attempting to pull herself up on things, had to lower the crib & remove the mobile
This week it’s time for a step-back week! I haven’t had one in a while and even though I feel good I know this is a good turning point to take one before I get back on the training/building coaster.
Track is back! Indoor season has begun, which means we can geek out early on. Marathon season is ramping up, too. This week’s highlights:
Two weeks in one! It’s a bonus.
If you run long enough, you’ll have bad runs. They’re part of the deal. If you train long enough for triathlon, you’ll have bad workouts. And once in a while, when the perfect s^&tstorm of life occurs, you’ll have a whole week like that. This is the story of Anise and the No Good, Very Bad, I Mean Horrible Training Week.
Monday – I went to work and spent the day working on nametags for our Summit. One of the very few things I had committed to doing. Except we ran out of the plastic badges so I had to go to the store. While I was out anyway I did my swim. 2,700 yards. Then I went home and worked on nametags some more. Before we had SaltyChat. This was the best training day of the week.
Tuesday – Since we had an evening event I needed to run before work. The forecasters were talking about wind and wintery mix and so I went to hit a treadmill again. Really? Well, the weather wasn’t that bad it turns out, but I still ran my 7.4 miles on the treadmill, including 2x 2 miles at threshold. Then I went and co-hosted an event at a downtown hotel, then to a reception/fundraiser at a sponsor’s house.
Wednesday – We had freezing fog overnight and everything was black ice. I left the house at 6:30 AM to make it downtown by 7:30 AM for our Summit. Everyone was having problems getting in. The Summit was great, but even leaving before everything was loaded and taken back to the office it was a long day. When I hit the downtown pool, it was right before swim team practice started for the youth. 4-6 of us ended up circle swimming in the one remaining lane. Whatever, I was just checking off the workout. 2,700 yards including 100 of new drills. Then I came home and ate dinner and got on the bike trainer for an hour of easy riding. Except the tension was wrong on the trainer and I needed to recalibrate (but didn’t) so it was hard. Didn’t matter what gear I was in or that I wasn’t riding a course, it was just hard. 13 miles of riding.
Thursday – We were hosting our sister organizations from across the Midwest for two days of caucus discussions and activities. I needed to be downtown early so I didn’t work with my personal trainer or ride before work. I skipped the group dinner to come home and ride 80 minutes with some hard segments. It felt awful. I still hadn’t recalibrated the trainer. 19.7 miles.
Friday – The most needed rest day EVER. Before the caucus was even done meeting I went upstairs to finish a proposal that was due at 5 PM. I managed to get it out the door around 3 PM and then headed to the tri store to use the Normatec boots for an hour.
Saturday – One would think I would have a good long run coming off a rest day, but no. Not even close. It wasn’t raining hard when I started and the wind was at my back, so the first few miles felt a little better than I expected. I forgot the heart rate monitor, and I barely had enough charge on the watch for the run, but the pace was ok for the first few. Then it got lonely as others were either done (faster) or not going as long (or had punked on running in the rain). The rain picked up and then when I turned into the wind it felt cold. I added gloves and when I got to three miles left I put my jacket back on (it was too warm earlier in the run). It kept getting slower and slower. 14 miles.
Sunday – I met with my swim coach to discuss goals for Ironman as we get ready for actual IM swim training. Then I came home and got on the bike trainer. I was riding the IM Louisville course. Since Mr. Anise had been on the trainer earlier my bike needed to be reset. I didn’t get the tension quite right, but I did calibrate the trainer. I still need to adjust it before I ride again. The 22.5 miles took much longer than it should have, but it was hilly without putting in a huge effort and I felt like I was feeling the cumulative muscle fatigue.
So I got all the workouts done, but none of them were good and some were downright awful. I felt exhausted all week. Read more >>
This will be a short training log, because I got sick and barely ran all week.
I had a bad cold with a sore throat, an annoying cough, body aches, and fatigue, so I rested Monday-Wednesday.
On Thursday I ventured out for a walk and did little walk/jog things on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
I tried to do some minimal muscle activation and stretching stuff just to make sure my legs didn’t totally stiffen up from all the sitting around. Luckily, by Sunday I was feeling a lot better and am ready to train again.
Look. I get it. You’re tough. You run uphill both ways at 4 a.m. in the freezing rain. You have to get outside, no matter how many layers it takes to avoid losing a limb to frostbite. You just can’t do the treadmill.
That’s fine. You do you. Because I f’in love the treadmill.
You did it! After studying the calendar, Googling flights and hotels, negotiating with your family and deliberating with your running friends, you finally registered for a goal race. Yay!
Now what? Well, you probably realize you need a training plan, but how do you get one? Should you hire a coach? Consult running books? Use a “stock” training plan from the interwebs?
Let’s go through the decision-making process step-by-step. Below are the questions we need to ask ourselves in determining what kind of training plan we’re going to use to reach our goals.
Originally posted by Jasmine in November 2016.
These days, runners want personalization. (Damn Millennials.) You may feel like all of those great running plans in books ranging from Advanced Marathoning to Hanson’s Marathon Method aren’t made specifically for you. You want your own plan.
I hear you! Even though you really loved the Pfitz 55 or the Hansons plan, using the same plan you used last year gets old, and you need to up the ante if you want to get faster. Plus, no plan can apply to all runners, all the time, right? Maybe it’s time to hire one of the billion online coaches to write a plan for you?
But what if the online coach is too expensive for your budget? Plus, that plan you used last year was pretty good! Instead of making drastic changes, why not just tailor what you already have?
There are easy adjustments you can make to any training plan. Once you find the plan you like, you don’t just have to own that training plan as it’s written, you can actually make it your own. Read more >>
Chrissy Vasquez wasn’t always a runner. In fact, she surprised herself when she agreed to her first half marathon. Now, as vice president of operations for Back on My Feet, Chrissy uses running as a cornerstone for people looking to rebound from homelessness and unemployment.
Chrissy is responsible for 10 Back on My Feet chapters across the country. The national non-profit organization uses running teams to help homeless, unemployed people find their way to a job, a home, a community, and independence. Team members are recruited from homeless and residential facilities and initially commit to three days per week of morning group runs. From there, the “Next Steps” program provides education, job training, and other support.
Chrissy is also an Ironman triathlete and tells her Ironman story through her blog Sausage in a Wetsuit and in a Lilly TedX talk. She’s also appeared on several podcasts as a guest. We caught up with her and are excited to share her story — and that of BoMF!
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