I ran a marathon in January. After that, I decided to take a break from marathons and from working with the coach that I had worked with for over three years. I honestly wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go with my training at all. I didn’t do any races in February (the first month in over two years that I haven’t done a race!). I did four 10ks in March and then I decided to chill a bit during April. Going into May, I gained a newfound sense of clarity as far as what I want to do in the next year, training-wise at least. There are still a lot of other areas in my life that are lacking clarity.
The marathon seems to have become the pinnacle achievement for the average runner (okay, okay, anyone who runs a marathon is better than average, but you know what I mean). When I got back into running after college, I very quickly jumped into the half marathon distance and within a couple of years targeted my first marathon. Everyone was doing one, it seemed. But after seven 26.2s in four years, I needed a break and decided to train for a 5K. Now, I’m hooked. If you’re looking to transition to a new distance, here are a few tips to consider.
Hi, Saltines! Coach Hops here. It’s March, the snow is melting, the days are getting longer, and we’re all gearing up for some Spring and Summer racing. Maybe you’ve been racing for years and have your tried-and-true training routines down to a science. Or maybe you have a coach and do whatever she says. But maybe you’re newer to running and racing: you’ve read all of our training plan posts but you’re still not quite sure what to expect. Today I want to talk about the basic phases of race training, and about what else you should be doing to get ready to race.
When I first returned to running as an adult I went through a period of time when I didn’t think of myself as a “Runner.” I mean, real runners do stuff like races, right? Then I did some races and thought, “Well, I’m not really a runner, real runners do stuff like marathons.” Then I ran a marathon. “Well, that’s the last one, so I’m glad it was good. Guess I’ll go back to not being a runner.” Then I built a running website for my sister, a real runner. “But I’m not a serious runner like her. I’ve only done one marathon.” Then I ran another marathon. “Well, I’ve never won anything.” Then I won my age group in a 10k. You get the idea.
One day somewhere in there it became undeniable. I am a runner. A real runner. A serious runner. I’ve never won a race, I’m not elite, I’m not chasing down prize money, but I am a real, serious runner and it is obvious to everyone who meets me. Even though I am not training for anything, I am maintaining more than 25 miles per week. There is no longer any way for me to deny my status as “a runner.”
And somewhere along the way I realized I had gotten much better … drastically better … light-freaking-years-better at being a runner, and that I deserved the title. “How?” you may ask. “What’s your secret special sauce to becoming better?” Read more >>
When it comes to training plans and coaching there is an age-old question: do you train by time or by distance?
Arguments in favor of time are often based around the idea that runners should minimize injury risk. This means making sure easy runs are done easy enough, and that there is a limit to the amount of time that one should spend on their longest runs.
The main argument for distance is that you are training to race a distance, not a time.
Meanwhile, some advocate for a combination. Read more >>
You see all types of click-bait headlines on running sites promising to make you hit your goals faster …
“Do this or you will never reach your running goals!”
“Eat this … and all your running dreams will come true!!!”
“Are you doing this fill-in-the-blank-incredibly-expensive-and-most-likely-not-covered-by-your-insurance-torture treatment, because you’re SCREWING your training if you’re not!”
“This is the ONE spice runners need to have in their pantries!”
“Are you doing this one type of workout? You NEED to!”
“Stretch … or else!” … “Don’t stretch … or else!“
“Get a coach!” … “You don’t need a coach!“
“Wear minimalist shoes!” … “Wear air mattresses on your feet!” … “You don’t need shoes at all!”
“Get this watch with 250 options!” … “Ditch your watch and run by feel!”
“Eat like an elite!” … “Eat like a caveman!” … “Never eat gluten!”
“Level up your veganism and eat nothing that casts a shadow like this elite marathoner did!”
“Track your heart rate!”
“Run all your long runs at goal pace!” … “Never run your long runs at pace!“
“If you’re not foam rolling, you are SABOTAGING your dreams!”
With all that noise coming at you, it’s easy to feel paralyzed and confused about what actually matters when it comes to chasing down your PR dreams. So, all the ever-changing running mumbo jumbo pseudo science fad diet bull crap aside, what truly matters when it comes to getting faster and better at running?
Happy birthday, Salty! And welcome to the Masters’ League!
While my dear sister was off having a wonderful 40th birthday weekend I started answering some Salty emails. I came across a question from Salty reader Erin, who wanted some answers about forming a game plan so she could qualify for Boston before her 40th birthday. And it got me thinking about a post Salty once wrote: Forget Time Limits When it Comes to Your Running Goals.
Working toward our goals is supposed to be fun and rewarding, but can sometimes become stressful if we start to put undue pressure on ourselves. So today for our roundtable I’d like to know:
Tell us about a time you revised your goals. What was the end result? Do you think it was worth it?
As always, we’ll take your answer in the comments!
This week was my first week training with set workouts from my coach. It is good to be back in the swing of things, but I won’t lie: I am out of shape and up about 7 pounds. Ugh. Oh well, we have to start somewhere, right? Here is how the week panned out:
Monday is my rest day.
Tuesday I had an hour on tap. 7 miles / 8:45 pace.
Wednesday I was scheduled for 40 minutes, but bumped it up slightly. 5 miles / 8:51 pace. I also did my arm weights.
Thursday was going to be a rest day, but when I got home from work, my husband, 2 sons and their friend all wanted to run. There was no way I was going to turn that down! We ran just over 32 minutes / 3.6 miles / 9:04 pace.
Friday I had another hour on tap. Bumped it up slightly to 7.1 miles / 9:04 pace.
Saturday I waited entirely too late to get out and it was HOT. Fortunately my son rode his bike with me as I ran. I was scheduled for 40 minutes, but bumped it up slightly. 5 miles/ 9:02 pace.
Sunday I was scheduled for one hour forty minutes, but I knew I needed 12.3 miles to hit 40 for the week, so I bumped it up to one hour and fifty minutes. 12.3 miles / 8:56 pace. This run was hard as it was almost 80 degrees by the time I finished. It also was a less than subtle reminder of how out of shape I am. I capped it off with an ice bath and lots of rehydrating.
Total: 40 miles (almost 6 hours).
Here’s to next week (hopefully) feeling a little easier!
Hello Salty Readers!
It has been a while since I posted a training log because, well frankly, I haven’t been doing much training. My left shoulder/back/neck have been slow to heal from my mountain bike crash. Add to that a very, very busy schedule at work and my training has been pretty pathetic. I am really hoping to start ramping back up (yes, I know, I’ve said that several times….). Fingers crossed. One of the first things I need to do is set a goal for fall/winter. Any suggestions?
Monday was my 40th birthday! Unfortunately I did not have time for a run as I was in Atlanta for work and I was very busy all day.
Tuesday I ran for just over an hour. 7 miles / 8:51 pace.
Wednesday it was warm and super humid, so I just took it nice and easy. 3 miles / 9:11 pace.
Thursday wasn’t quite so warm, but I was dog tired. 4.3 miles / 9:03 pace.
Friday was a rest day.
Saturday I made the mistake of waiting until after 10 am to run. It was sunny and in the 80s. Whew I am not acclimated to the heat at all. The worst part was that I forgot BodyGlide and ended up with some wicked chafing. I also got a bad dehydration headache that I had to fight all day. I really need to get back into training mode where I think about these potential issues before I run. 8.15 miles / 9:06 pace.
Sunday the birthday fun continued as my oldest son turned 12! I ran 70 minutes and got just over 7.5 miles. Not sure of the exact distance or pace because my Garmin is not cooperating. Next up: Miller Park for a Brewers game!
Total: 30 miles.
I have to admit I feel odd writing my training log this week when it feels so insignificant compared to everything going on in our country. But the show must go on and we need to continue living our lives. So onward we go.
Race day is drawing near. This week was almost a repeat of last week as far as volume and quality go given that we decided to change my goal race and add an extra week of taper into my schedule. The main difference was that I did not skip any of my runs so my volume was slightly higher. I moved some workouts around, but I put in all of the work.
Monday – rest day / arm weights. I watched the Boston Marathon with delight (although I missed the elite finish due to a client meeting) and tracked all of my friends, many of whom RoCkEd the course (woot!). I spent the rest of the day watching the horror of the bombings unfold. Add to that, my sister-in-law who is currently battling an aggressive form of breast cancer, received more crazy medical news. Hard day and I felt completely knocked off my feet.
Tuesday – I was scheduled for a speed workout, but I just didn’t feel like I could concentrate on it. It didn’t seem to matter. I couldn’t drag myself out of bed in the unrelenting cold to put in a hard workout. So I just ran 4 miles after work. I threw on my 2010 Boston shirt and tried to feel strength and hope for all those affected by the tragic events. 34 minutes / 4 miles / 8:33 pace.
Wednesday – I reminded myself that the show must go on. My goal race is a week and a half away and now is not the time to fade away due to sadness. Doing so lets the terrorists win. They will not win. So I hit the streets for my tempo workout. 10 minute warm up (9:03 pace); 2 x 1 mile (7:16; 7:11) with 2 minute recoveries; 3 x .125 (6:38, 6:03; 6:18); 1 mile @ 7:12; cool down with 4 striders. I noticed that it was hard for me to find my paces. Clearly that is the down side to doing so much speed work on the treadmill this season. 50 minutes / 6.42 miles / 7:51 average pace.
Thursday – I did my arm weights and ran after work again. Super windy run on the trail. 31:50 / 3.58 / 8:56 average pace.
Friday – I was scheduled for a tempo workout, but woke to howling wind and rain. Decided I’d wait until Saturday when it was forecast to be much nicer to get that work in. The best news was a friend e-mailed me that day and asked me if I wanted to run. Score! I’d have a training partner for my hard workout too! So I just ran easy after work. 31:45 / 3.58 miles / 8:53 pace.
Saturday – I met my friend in sunny, but cold (28 degrees) weather. We did just over a 10 minute warm up, then did 40 minutes at tempo pace. We were supposed to be at 7:40 pace and came in at 7:43 average pace. I was not disappointed with being slightly slow given that we picked a very hilly route and chatted the whole time. We then did 4 x .125 repeats. We were planning to run at 6:17 pace, but we ended up ripping them up at 5:35 – 5:50 pace. We then did a 15 minute cool down. When I finished, the half marathon I had been planning to race was going on, so I spectated and cheered for the runners for a while. I am pleased to say the friend I gave my bib to helped pace another friend to her first half marathon. Awesome. 70 minutes / 8.81 miles / 7:52 average pace.
Sunday – I woke up with a massive headache the head cold my son had all week. In fact, I had to take him to the urgent care late Saturday night because he developed a severe ear infection pretty suddenly. So now my focus is on nipping this cold in the bud and staying as strong as possible. Part of that plan included taking a nice mid-day nap. :) 60 minute / 6.67 miles / 9:05 pace. One week until race day!
Total: 33 miles (4 hours; 38 minutes)
Next weekend, we race! Friday night the boys are doing the 5k and Saturday I am doing the half. My bib number is 10948. Sounds like a great number to me! I can’t wait! But to be honest, I’ll admit I have been constantly second-guessing my training this season and my decision to change my goal race. So I am trying hard to get my head in the game so I can race my very best. It is what is is, the hay is in the barn. I need to trust my training, trust my coach, and go get it.
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