Well, here we are! Two more weeks of training down and three weeks to go! I’ve got exactly three more big workouts and then it’s taper time. The last two weeks have gone very well with lots of easy miles and a few big quality sessions.
Hello from en route to Boston for the marathon tomorrow! I am relaxed after spending most of my taper week on family vacation in the mountains of Gatlinburg TN and am excited about the race. This week’s running consisted of scaled back but reasonable length easy runs with some speed work of mostly GMP miles to continue to dial in the pace. GMP miles are now feeling pretty easy; hope that feeling continues tomorrow.
Monday – 8 miles on Gatlinburg track with 3 mile progression from GMP (7:33/169 bpm; 7:31/171 bpm; 7:19/175 bpm) (8:14/158 bpm for entire run). Ran in sunny 64 degree weather in silence, listening to my breathing. Felt strong. Core work: 4×20 push ups, single leg toe touches.
Tuesday – 8.7 miles easy (8:38/151 bpm) in pouring rain on track, with strides at the end. Ran without music and contemplated body awareness and Boston. Enjoyed this run despite the rain. Core work: reverse lunges, single leg toe touches. Argh!! Sore from fast strides at night. Lots of roll recovery and 9.5 hours sleep.
Wednesday — 7.3 miles easy (8:45/150 bpm) in silence on Gatlinburg track in progression run in long sleeved t shirt and sunny 64 degree weather. Overdressed to prepare for heat.
Thursday – 8 miles on Gatlinburg track with 3.5 at GMP (7:33/164 bpm; 7:32/170 bpm; 7:32/172 bpm; 7:32/173 bpm)(8:14/156 bpm for entire run). Ran at mid day in fleece and full tights in 66 degree weather to acclimate to heat, as forecast predicts high of 72 degrees. Would have run 4 miles at GMP but Garmin lost signal for a time and measurement was off. Felt strong.
Friday – Off. Drive 760 miles from TN to CT.
Saturday – 7.4 miles (8:09/153 bpm), with 4.2 easy miles on CT trails with Deena doggie and remainder on track, with 2 miles at GMP (7:27/162 bpm; 7:21/163 bpm). Ran at 1 pm in 64 degree weather in long sleeves and tights to adjust to sun and heat. Stress score that morning was low (14) but my back hurt during and after the run, I think from long car ride the day before. Otherwise felt great. Back recovered after icing it and taking an afternoon nap. Strength work: 1×20 single leg goblet squats, hamstring exercises.
Sunday — 4.5 miles easy (8:30 avg) on CT track. Felt a little creaky the first mile, then well and strong after getting warmed up. Went a little faster than planned, leaving an annoying, heaving runner who was making patronizing comments during my last lap in the dust. Pondered that my next run would be in Hopkinton! Strength work: push ups, planks, single leg toe touches.
Weekly total: 44 miles
Carboloading on Naked blue machine juice, quinoa, oatmeal pancakes, overnight oatmeal, bananas, ice cream, chocolate, lobster mac n cheese.
Racing weight: 131.4 lbs
Late this past week, I reached the point of feeling ready for Boston. I came through the valley of the shadow of a tendon strain with the help of an excellent chiropractor, got in some workouts with GMP miles where I felt strong and practiced running in 63 degree weather, in the range of the currently forecasted high temperature on race day.
Monday – Off. Care for sore ankle/inner shin confirmed by stress score of 23 and potential for cold coming on. Left work early and took and afternoon nap. Strength/core work: 3×25 single leg goblet squats, 2×95 seconds planks.
Tuesday – cross-train 8 “miles”, 66 mins on elliptical (143 bpm) as my ankle/shin was still sore. Happily low stress score: 17. Would rather be running, but this was a good workout; as I went through the session my body felt comfortable going faster without spiking my heart rate, in contrast to Sunday where I could feel my body fighting me during a portion of the run
Later in the day, I went to see Dr. Duke, a sports chiropractor who diagnosed a strained/tight posterior tibial tendon and made me feel a million times better after a single treatment. Made appointments for further treatment the following two days.
Wednesday AM – 7.2 miles easy (8:48/160 bpm) in CP with a friend’s daughter visiting from San Francisco amidst the cherry blossoms. Happily low morning stress score: 14. Delighted to be able to run but very frustrated about loss of body confidence and coordination after only two days off. Strength/core: planks, single legged toe touches.
Wednesday PM – 4.5 miles easy (8:30/145 bpm) in CP, plus 3×15 weighted single leg goblet squats. Felt coordination slowly starting to return and body confidence got a boost from Dr. saying I wasn’t going to make my tendon problem worse by running on it.
Thursday – 14 miles in CP with 6 at GMP (7:34/171 bpm average with splits of 7:36, 7:33, 7:45, 7:32, 7:29, 7:31) (8:01/163 bpm for entire run). From despair to hope and optimism in a day! I am back on track! Purpose of this run was to dial in GMP. Happy that with the exception of a West Side Hill where I sucked, after days of being in a black hole, I did it. Strength work: 3×20 goblet squats, weighted hamstring exercises, single leg toe touches.
Friday – 14 miles, mostly on track, with 7 miles steady state (7:52/158 bpm avg) and 3 miles GMP (7:30/167 bpm avg)(8:00/155 bpm average for entire run). This was a great run! I woke up with low stress score and wanted to run more GMP miles. I was initially disappointed that high school track practice made the track too crowded for a hard effort, but after some miles the polite CT group left a lane open for me and I enjoyed watching them work hard as I clicked off the miles. Legs felt good. Strength training: weighted single legged goblet squats, weighted eccentric heel drops, push ups, single leg toe touches.
Saturday – 7 recovery pace (9:05) miles on hotel treadmill in Winchester Va, on our way to the Great Smoky Mountains in TN. Studied Ryan Hall’s training logs before he set an American record in the 2011 Boston marathon on the drive and was amazed to see how much faster he raced than he logged most of his tempo miles. Strength work: 4500# deadlifts, single leg goblet squats.
Sunday – 10.7 miles easy (8:35/148 bpm) on hilly trails in the Great Smoky Mountains NatIonal Park on Gatlingburg TN with Deena doggie, while listening to “The Illegal” recommended by Catnip for a few miles, then silence. Ran at midday in 63 degree weather to simulate forecasted conditions for Boston. Noticed my ventilatory threshold is much lower in warmer temperatures. Good to know. Strength work: 3 sets hamstring exercises, 2 sets eccentric heel drops, single leg toe touches.
Weekly total: 57.5 miles running, 8 “miles” elliptical
Boston Training total: 1089 miles
Weekly average: 64.2 miles per week
20+ mile long runs: 4, including 1 28.5 mile run
GMP miles: 92
Goals for final week: don’t get injured, don’t get stale, run in warm temperatures when possible to prepare for race day.
I wish I had taken a picture of the spring blossoms with snow on them this morning, because they are a good metaphor for the contrasts and highs and lows of my training week. The high: my best 20 miler ever yesterday, with 12 miles at 7:34 pace under challenging conditions and 7:48 overall pace, including warmup and cool down. The lows: needing to take a day off and pull back from my training mid week to stay healthy and less than great recovery run today. I think I have the fitness that I need for a great race in Boston. My task for this week will be to recover and find a good holding pattern before serious taper starts next weekend.
Monday – 9.5 miles easy (8:27/152 bpm) in CP in pouring rain starting with West Side hills. Got to test out the serious rain jacket I invested in after reading predictions of rain and wind on Boston marathon day. Woke with low stress score (17) so ran this slightly harder than I otherwise would have. Strength work: 2×30 weighted eccentric heel drops, 4000# goblet squats.
Tuesday – 8.4 miles easy (8:30/146 bpm) mostly on CP dirt bridle path with Deena doggie. Was excited to get through the night and get out for my run and woke with low stress score of 16 and morning heart rate as low as 38 bpm. Loving the blossoms and daffodils in full bloom. Ready for Napoleon to die already even though I enjoyed the audio book. 8:22/145 bpm second mile and 8:04/145 bpm 8th mile. Core work: 10 burpees, 20 push-ups, 2×100 second side planks, one legged plyo hops.
Wednesday – 10.5 miles in CP with 2 miles (6:59/170 bpm; 7:02/177 bpm), 2 miles (7:02/172 bpm; 7:14/178 bpm), 1 mile (7:09/173 bpm) with 90 second rests. — 7:05/174 bpm average. Woke up with low stress score. Delayed start of run til I was fully awake, had done strength work and weather was warmer for optimal conditions but run began with elevated heart rate from stress of whether I could hit the paces again. In an unpretty way, I hit my 7:05 goal pace (that I ran for three miles last week) for five of the planned six miles. I did not have the heart to compete with traffic, horse drawn carriages and tourists for that last mile at newly fast for me pace. At end of run my shin near my ankle felt tender so I rolled it. Strength work: 4000# deadlifts, 2×20 weighted hamstring exercises, core work with Swiss ball. I was encouraged after reviewing my training log for this same period in the fall cycle, when I ran a full 30 seconds slower, 7:35 average pace for lactate threshold paces. I also had a sore shin after a lactate threshold workout and managed through it by backing off and resting a bit.
Thursday – Off. Decided to take the day off so as to not take chances with my shin/ankle. I have the fitness I want to race day and just need to maintain it. Confirmed by initial morning stress score of 24, the high end of the green zone. Went back to bed for 90 mins and stress score lowered to 16.
Friday – 7.9 miles easy (8:46/145 bpm) in drizzle and showers on CT trails with Deena doggie. Morning stress score good 17. Happy that my ankle/shin held up for the run though disappointed that my watch estimates my fitness took a slight hit from a single day off. Core/strength work: planks, single legged toe touches, deadlifts, weighted hamstring exercises.
Saturday – 20 miles in CP with 12 at GMP (7:34/170 average for GMP miles and 7:48/167 avg for entire run). 9 hours sleep the night before and woke feeling good with low stress score. I had a stressful 90 second stop during the run bc someone stole the extra water I had set out for myself and I had to buy more from a vendor. Warmish day and afternoon sun meant I was dealing with profuse, salty sweat. But mostly felt good and strong on this run where I was trying to dial in running comfortably and efficiently at a 7:30-7:37 pace on rolling hills. At 170 bpm, my effort level was less than the 177 bpm I raced my past two marathons, but I wanted to dial in a pace at a at low enough heart rate to give me a heart rate cushion to survive uphills between miles 16-21 and stress or unfavorable weather. Felt ready for Boston and a huge sense of relief after finishing this last monster workout before the marathon. Core work: 2×30 single legged toe touches.
Sunday – 10.4 miles very easy (8:58/146 bpm) on CT trails and track in snowy cold and 30 mph winds. Ok run but not a great one and probably more miles than my body wanted to do after a 20 miler. The pace that has been recovery for my legs and heart rate recently was sadly easy pace by heart rate today, though seemed to improve at end with 8:15/155 bpm 9th mile on track. Core and strength work: 2×30 eccentric heel drops, 4×20 push ups, 2×30 single legged toe touches.
Weekly total: 66.7 miles
Two weeks til Boston!
This week, I had an amazing goal marathon paced run that was faster and at a lower effort level than the NYC Half Marathon I ran a week ago. Also, my cruise interval speed paces started to dip below 7:00 per mile pace.
Monday – 6.8 miles, post-race recovery pace (9:22/133 bpm) on CP dirt bridle path which was a gorgeous, frosty wonderland, coated with the last dusting of snow for the season. Felt surprisingly good for the day after a half marathon; I have been more sore and higher stress score after several hard Sunday workouts this training cycle. Strength work: 95 second side planks, single leg toe touches, form drills
Tuesday – 8 miles recovery/easy (9:02/141 bpm) mostly on CP dirt bridle path. Forsythia and magnolia blooms are glorious and seem to have survived yesterday’s snow. Strength work: 2×30 weighted eccentric heel drops, weighted hamstring exercises, 3500# deadlift.
Wednesday – 11 miles, with 3 mile tempo (7:22/169 bpm, 7:08/174 bpm, 7:17/177 bpm — 7:15/173 bpm average). Then 3 miles steady state (8:09/164 bpm avg)(8:09/163 bpm avg for entire run). I had hoped to run 2×3 miles and was pleasantly surprised at how low my heart rate was at my 7:15 target pace. But after the first interval, on two attempts, my body refused to resume my target pace, even though my heart rate was not high, so I decided to simply do a steady state run which gives an additional modest fitness benefit. Strength work: planks, weighted eccentric heel drops, 4×20 goblet squats w 40# weight, weighted hamstring exercises.
Thursday – 11.3 miles with 3 mile tempo (6:57!/171 bpm; 7:05/176 bpm; 7:08/178 bpm — 7:03/175 bpm average)! (8:09/158 bpm avg for entire run). Woke up with a low stress score (16) and decided to go for the rest of the six miles on my agenda for this week at MP effort. Excited to run these paces and think I lack good running economy at them because I have almost never run this fast. Strength work: 4×20 push ups.
Friday – 10.25 miles easy (9:02/147 bpm) with 7.5 on CT trails with Deena doggie, and remainder on track, with strides at end. Spotted the first spring buds in CT, which is a few weeks behind NYC. Couple slow splits after falling trying to navigate our way around another dog. 7:58/155 bpm 9th mile on track. Strength work: 3×35 weighted eccentric heel drops, 3×20 single leg goblet squats, single leg toe touches, 3×20 reverse lunges, 3×20 lateral lunges, 4×10 box jumps (oof! needed a nap after this after not doing plyo for several weeks).
Saturday – 16 miles in CP with 11 miles at GMP (7:31/170 bpm average for GMP miles and 7:40 average for run). Best GMP run ever!!! I ran GMP miles 10 seconds per mile faster than intended — faster than my pace during the NYC Half Marathon last week and at dramatically lower effort level. In fact, my effort level was so comfortable that I had a runner’s high for more than 30 minutes of it. 8:21/146 bpm first mile. Strength work: planks, single legged toe touches; Kettlebell swings, deadlifts.
Sunday – 11.3 recovery pace (8:41/139 bpm) miles, 7.3 on CT trails with Deena and 4 miles on track with strides at end. 8:22/147 bpm 10th mile and 7:36/158 bpm 11th mile on track (including strides). Running watch has increased its estimate of my V02 Max to 57. I don’t quite believe it but am happy to be seeing continued improvement.
Happy Easter! Three weeks til Boston!
Weekly total: 75
In 2013, Katie Kay raced her first and Jen Dahler raced her third Boston Marathon. That year, the race was rocked by a bomb near the finish line. In the wake of the tragedy, sisters Katie and Jen vowed they’d go back. They would go back to prove that Boston was about running and triumph, not terror. They would go back to bring back happy memories of a future Boston Marathon to replace the tragic ones from 2013. And although they didn’t know it then, they would go back without one of their biggest cheerleaders, their dad.
After taking some time off to recover from a mild case of burn-out this past summer, and with Jen’s encouragement, Katie finally agreed to give Boston another shot. Both sisters jumped all-in despite intensely busy schedules, including caring for the five young children between them. Everything was going according to plan when, in mid-November of 2015, their father passed away suddenly, rocking their worlds once again.
Katie, in particular, wasn’t sure if she could keep going but, again with Jen’s support, she pushed on. And while he wouldn’t be there to cheer them on, Jen and Katie did what their dad would want them to do: they stuck with it, dug in deeper, and are going for their goals on April 18. Read more >>
This week, I navigated through a hamstring strain and ran the NYC Half Marathon, an amazing experience, finishing with a 3 1/2 minute personal best.
Monday – 7.7 miles easy/recovery pace (9:10/140 bpm) in Central Park in pouring rain. Ran up the steep side of Harlem Hill twice for Boston practice. Strength work: core work on Swiss ball and unicycle, 3×20 push ups, single leg toe touches. Hamstring hurt after this run, likely from hills, so spent the day which I had off lounging, resting it and trying not to stress about worst case scenario.
Tuesday – 8.3 miles easy (9:14/145 bpm), mostly on CP reservoir and dirt bridle path. Ran first two miles extemely easy to baby hamstring, which felt much better but pretty sure has a mild strain in an area I have injured in the past. Felt generally okay and much better than after Monday’s run. Strength work: 3×15 weighted goblet squats, single leg toe touches.
Wednesday- 11 miles easy, mostly on Chicago’s Lakeshore trail (8:59/152 bpm). Morning stress score was on the high side of good, where it usually is after a marathon length hard workout or after drinking the night before – travel is hard on the body and I am pretty sure I would have struggled to hit speed paces. But my legs felt good, did not feel hamstring during run and felt worshipful watching the light come up over Lake Michigan, even in the wind and rain. Strength work – one set push ups and planks (sore abs???), donkey kicks, single leg toe touches.
Thursday – 11.4 happy, easy miles (8:51/150 bpm) mostly along Chicago Lakeshore Drive at sunrise while listening to “Joyful, Joyful” and other hymns. Lower stress score and could run faster with less effort than yesterday, though still not low enough for a workout. Felt hamstring when I woke up but felt great during the run. Strength work: goblet squats, deadlift 3200#, single leg toe touches.
Friday – 10.2 miles easy (8:38/151 bpm) mostly on CP dirt bridle path amidst spring daffodils and blooms while listening to Napoleon. 8:42/144 bpm first mile. Awoke at home and finally with low stress score (17); hope I can keep it low despite nervousness about approaching race. Hamstring feeling better! Strength work: 3 min 15 secs planks, single leg toe touches.
Saturday – 5.3 miles very easy (9:17/140 bpm) on CT trails with Deena doggie. Good, low stress score (17). Annoyed to feel hammy before and after (but not during) run – think it may be scar tissue so applies trigger point pressure with tennis ball. Strength work: 2×30 weighted eccentric heel drops, 3×15 single leg goblet squats, 29 reps hamstring exercise with lighter than usual weight, single leg toe touches.
Sunday – 15.3 miles, including 13.3 miles running NYC Half Marathon in 1:40 (7:34/178 bpm average), a 3 1/2 min PR! Also, top 4% in my age group and top 5% of women overall and 69.5% AG, not too shabby for me, in a highly competitive race with about 20,000 finishers.
Body going into the race: Got almost seven hours sleep on Saturday night and woke with 19 stress score. Not bad for race morning. Determined on Friday that proper effort level for me to race a half marathon is 178-188 bpm (for me, 5 beats per minute translates to about 15 seconds per mile). Decided to target the low end of the range, 178 bpm, to be conservative in light of hamstring strain, overlap with my proper marathon effort (175-183 bpm), and permit sooner resumption of training for Boston, my “A” goal race. Still felt the hamstring at rest, so knew I needed to be cautious.
Learning to race: I am still learning how to race and rarely run hard enough that my breath is audible. Toward the end of our time in Central Park, miles 5-7, I started to hear myself breathing hard and wanted to quit as my heart rate climbed to 180-181. I hung in there, and finally realized that I could run for a long time at this effort level and that being able to hear myself breathe did not necessarily mean that I would blow up and need to stop running. I felt much better during miles 9-12.5, speeded up to the fastest 5k leg of the race, and did not consider stopping, even though my heart rate averaged 181-182. I realized I could tolerate this effort level; that it was an effort but not painful and not so hard that I would need to stop.
The course: enter this race if you ever get the chance!! The first 5-7 miles are hard and hilly, including Harlem Hill in mile 4 that rivals Heartbreak Hill, BUT running through Times Square and down the West Side Highway along the water, with Freedom Tower in full view, in the middle of a sea of people is an amazing experience. Bands and spectators, even on a windy, cold day, made us feel like rock stars. It is also a great course to learn how to run a negative split if one starts conservatively, because the last five miles are mostly down hill or flat.
Mental stamina: I persevered through a period of wanting to quit, myself I might not get the chance to run this fabulous course ever again and to savor every moment rather than wishing it away. I tried to enjoy the view of every city building and the sea of racers in front of me. I told myself “I do hard things” (thanks, Catnip!) and “Boston.” I thought about Desi grinding out the miles. I ran without headphones and kept my concentration on my pace, body and heart rate. Ultimately, I embraced the effort and loved it. I finished in 1:40, a 3 1/2 minute PR.
Celebration: spent the rest of the morning at a great Irish bar, the Dead Rabbit, warming up with hot Whisky Punch and full Irish breakfast with fellow New York Flyers and my 22 year-old son.
Lessons learned: Some important lessons that I realized during the race and will carry with me through Boston are that I will feel satisfied with myself if I am running at an appropriate effort level and within my fitness (hard enough, but not overreaching where I end up blowing myself up). Thinking about this took away the pressure of worrying about or being disappointed by any particular split. Also, to the extent I am able to “enjoy” the effort I will also be able to push a bit harder and run a bit faster. Finally, I realized that my body took this as a tempo run rather than a race, with low stress scores and runs that went well on the two mornings following the race. So I plan to target only 5-6 seconds slower than that, around 7:40, for my marathon paced runs between now and Boston.
Weekly total: 69 miles
This week, I celebrated turning 43, my dogter turning 1, and realized a goal set 16 months ago of running more than 80 miles per week.
Monday – 7.2 recovery miles (9:39/137 bpm) on CT trails with Deena doggy. Strength work: 2×15 weighted goblet squats, 4×20 push ups, 1×30 weighted eccentric heel drops, 3×15 lateral lunges with Kettlebell, 3×15 Kettlebell hamstring exercises, 26×90 lb deadlifts, balance on Swiss ball.
Tuesday – 11.2 miles with 3×2 miles with 90 seconds rest (7:20/175 bpm; 7:23/177 bpm)(7:23/173 bpm; 7:26/177 bpm)(7:25/173 bpm; 7:24/178 bpm). More consistent and averaging about eight seconds per mile faster than last week. Yay!!! Went for this workout after a great morning stress score thanks to 8+ hrs good sleep. This was a tough workout but I kept the stress recovery cycle exactly and felt a huge sense of accomplishment afterward. I am finally getting close to finding the right effort level I feel confident I can sustain for a good distance without blowing myself up. Also happy that this run, after my gym strengthening workout last night, was balanced. Newness of the paces put blisters on my toes. Happy battle scars. Strength work: planks, form drills, single leg toe touches.
Wednesday – 8.5 miles easy/recovery pace (9:23/143 bpm), mostly on CP dirt bridle path. Ran without earphones in mindful silence and meditation on perfect almost spring morning, and saw the first buds of forsythia. Strength work: 3×15 weighted goblet squats, single leg toe touches, 2×30 weighted eccentric heel drops, 3000# deadlifts, core work on Swiss ball.
Thursday – 9.7 miles easy (9:22/148 bpm) mostly on CP reservoir in 61 degree weather. Forsythia blooms brilliant yellow and magnolia buds are emerging, early for the time of year. Strength work: 3×15 goblet squats, weighted reverse lunges, 2×95 sec side planks, balance on Swiss ball.
Friday — 15 miles with 9 miles at GMP (7:48/172 bpm average — 7:39/165; 7:54/172; 7:44/170; 7:49/172; 7:57/174; 7:38/173; 7:47/174; 8:00/175; 7:39/173). Put my big girl panties on and ran on a warmish day in CP without breaks on terrain that simulates Boston as closely as I have available, starting with hard downhill at beginning, rolling hills, then later in the run, running up the West Side hills, then Harlem Hill, which has similar climb and grade as Heartbreak Hill. Hoping to get up the nerve to increase the intensity a bit, so that my pace averages 7:39-7:44, and lengthen GMP miles to about 12 miles the week after next. My quads gave me feedback(!) after the run so think I did something right.
Saturday – 9.8 miles easy/recovery pace (9:07/141 bpm) on CT trails with last 1.5 miles on track with strides. 8:53/140 bpm second mile. Celebrated my birthday and Deena doggy turning one by running together through the woods and listening to spiritual songs. Amazed at how good I felt and how low my stress score was the day after a hard workout. Must have been the magic of the day.
Sunday – 20.5 miles (8:17/159 bpm average) with NY Flyers to Little Red Lighthouse under the GW Bridge. Ran 17.5 at easy 8:30’s and last 3 at GMP (7:46, 7:37, 7:39). Strength work: 3×20 goblet squats, 2×30 eccentric heel drops, single leg toe touches.
Weekly total: 82 miles!
I had a great training week: I got to run with my Vizsla dog Deena three times, my college aged son once and am finally starting to get the hang of the appropriate effort levels for my harder runs. What’s better than that?
Monday – 6.8 recovery pace (9:44/128 bpm) miles on CP dirt bridle path at sunrise with Deena doggie. Went on a weird rare eating rampage that I didn’t understand but in retrospect think my body wanted the calories to recover from the prior weekend, and I woke up the next day feeling much better. Strength work: weighted goblet squats.
Tuesday – 11 miles with 4×1.5 miles on hills with 90 seconds recovery. (7:39/167 bpm, 7:28/170 bpm, 7:36/170 bpm, 7:24/173 bpm) Woke up with low stress score so went for this workout. Averaged three seconds faster than last week, which was on easier terrain, and 17 seconds per mile faster than when I did this workout during week 12 of the fall marathon training cycle! To get over my mental block from running faster than 7:30 pace, I focused solely on effort, keeping my heart rate in the 170’s after the first “warmup” mile, and gradually creeping up to finish at 177 bpm. Next week, I think I will be brave enough to start at a higher heart rate/effort level. Strength work: 2×20 weighted goblet squats, 4×20 push ups.
Wednesday – 5.6 mile (8:54/136 bpm) recovery run with Deena doggie after 8 hours’ sleep. 8:46/139 bpm third mile.
Thursday – 10.2 miles (9:38/145 bpm) easy in CP. At the end of my warmup, I pushed off the workout I had planned when I realized my heart rate was higher than it should be for the paces I was running, signaling that I was not recovered enough to absorb hard training. Weird spot on my foot and knee did not feel great just as I finished the run. Strength work: 2×20 single legged goblet squats, 95 second side planks, 3 sets hamstring exercises, 3 sets reverse lunges, 2 sets lateral lunges, weighted goblet squats, balance exercises.
Friday – 7.4 miles (8:46/151 bpm) with Deena doggie NYFlyer friend Francesco in CP which was beautifully dusted with light snow. Ran a bit harder than planned but I was balanced! Loved this run and felt better than expected afterward, probably bc my running mechanics were good.
Saturday – stress score finally low enough to absorb hard training, and ran best GMP miles ever! 15.3 miles, with 2×5 miles at GMP effort on CP hills (7:39/mile average) (1st set – 7:39/172 bpm; 7:28/172 bpm; 7:52/174 bpm; 7:27/173 bpm; 7:37/175 bpm)(2nd set – 7:40/173 bpm; 7:31/174 bpm; 7:56/176 bpm – 30 sec stop for heart rate to go under 180 – 7:43/171 bpm; 7:37/177 bpm). I am finally “getting” the feel of the correct effort level for MP miles and mental stamina for the effort that must go into it. Compression gear and nap afterward!
Sunday – woke up feeling surprisingly good and with a low stress score. 18.7 miles, the first 14.7 solo while listening to my spiritual Sunday playlist (8:45/155 bpm), and the last four with my senior in college son. What a treat! Strength work: weighted eccentric heel drops, 2 sets reverse lunges with Kettlebells.
Weekly total: 75 miles
I am excited and a little scared. Excited that everything from marathon paced effort to easy miles is faster than it has ever been. My Garmin has increased its estimate of my VO2 Max to 53. But I am a little nervous that I will over reach and screw things up. So I am paying close attention to recovery and this week ran the minimum I thought I needed to keep making progress.
Monday – 4.5 miles heart rate based recovery run (9:33/127 bpm) with Deena doggie. I had not anticipated running the day after training run marathon, but HRV/stress score was in the green zone (high end) and I have more than 70 miles on tap this week, so decided to go for the short run. First steps felt creaky, then run felt good and legs felt much better afterward.
Tuesday – 6.8 recovery paced (10:03/129 bpm) miles on CP dirt bridle path before sunrise with Deena doggie while listening to a biography of Napoleon.
Wednesday – 7.8 miles easy (9:41/146 bpm) in Central Park in pouring rain. Tender spot on my knee after yesterday’s run and a bit upon waking made me not yet ready for a workout. Strength work: 20 reps each leg weighted goblet squats, single leg toe touches, planks.
Thursday – 11.5 miles with 6×1 mile with 90 secs recovery (7:34/166 bpm; 7:29/171 bpm; 7:31/174 bpm; 7:31/174 bpm; 7:36/171 bpm; 7:47/173 for .7). First warm up mile was 8:54/143 bpm. I did this workout while mostly but not fully recovered from Sunday’s marathon and ended up with an effective workout, though one that was rated less effective than ones I have started fresh and executed effort level and stress-recovery cycle perfectly. I was pleased that even with shorter recovery time than last fall, my paces were substantially faster and heart beat lower than when I did this workout during week 11 of my fall 2015 marathon training cycle. Strength work: weighted goblet squats, push-ups.
Friday – 11.3 continuous miles easy (9:28/144 bpm), mostly on CP reservoir while watching the light come up and listening about Napoleon and Josephine. Very happy to have run 7 seconds per mile faster than the same run last week with comparable effort. Strength work: 2 sets weighted goblet squats, 2×95 second side planks, single leg toe touches.
Saturday – 13.7 miles, with 4×2 miles at GMP (7:42/168 bpm; 7:43/170 bpm; 7:42/174 bpm; 7:41/177 bpm) with 90 second rests. I think these were my best GMP efforts ever! My heart rate and the fitness assessment on my watch have suggested that my body is fit enough to run marathon pace miles faster than the 7:50-7:55 paces I have been practicing, but I have lacked the body confidence to push faster. So when this week’s training plan called for marathon pace miles in two mile segments, I decided to run them on the track, where I would be less afraid of blowing up, targeting 7:45 pace. I was delighted that I was able to run even faster than my target and hold pace through the last two miles which felt very hard. I kept the planned work/recovery cycle exactly, and my watch rated the workout, based on my heart’s reaction, “highly effective.” Was sore in a good way after this run, so I took a nap and went to bed early Strength work: 2×30 weighted eccentric heel drops, 3×15 lateral lunges with Kettlebells, 3×15 hamstring exercises with Kettlebells, 4×20 push ups, single leg toe touches, balance on Swiss ball.
Sunday – 14.6 miles easy (9:10/152 bpm) on beautiful, hilly rails-to-trails in Northern Westchester NY while listening to an audio book biography of Napoleon. HRV/stress score cleared me to run but was careful to not push the pace in order to stay healthy after Saturday’s hard workout. With good pacing, I did not walk on the 2.5 mile uphill on this route. This was a rare, balanced run that I have been striving for, and my left leg was not used to running properly balanced, but made it through feeling okay. Strength training: one set reverse lunges with Kettlebells, single leg toe touches.
Weekly total: 70 miles
This was a pretty great running week. I feel good after running 73 miles, was inspired seeing the Olympic Trials marathon on TV and got to run through northern Manhattan across the Highbridge Acqueduct.
Monday – 7 recovery paced miles (9:50/139 bpm) on gym treadmill. Almost finished “Marriage of Opposites,” a historical novel about Pisarro, and plan to start another historical novel by the same author. Legs feel great after the run.
Tuesday – 11 miles with 12×3 min hard uphill/downhill (8:08, 7:27, 7:24, 7:42, 7:30, 7:12, 8:08, 7:40, 7:27, 7:52, 7:36, 7:11) with 45 sec walk recovery. My effort was fairly consistent, with heart rate generally between 172-176, touching 179 on the steepest hills, and differences in paces reflecting hills and a few icy patches. Proud that I kept the stress recovery cycle exactly and that I was one second faster on my 12th rep than my 6th on the same hilly spot. Strength work: 3 sets single legged weighted goblet squats, 2×20 push ups, 3 sets hamstring exercises, 4×10 box jumps, 26 100# deadlifts.
Wednesday – 8.4 recovery paced miles (10:08/139 bpm) around the CP reservoir while it was snowing, listening to “The Dovekeepers.” Strength work: side planks (80 sec each), 2×20 push-ups.
Thursday – 12.5 miles with rather pathetic 7 mile GMP run, broken into 3 miles (7:55/167 bpm); 1 mile (7:56/168 bpm); 2 miles (7:54/166 bpm); 1 mile (7:50/166 bpm), with about 60 seconds between sets. My heart rate was not high, showing I had ample fitness to do it, but cold wind and effects of work dinner the prior night made it hard for me to find the mental stamina needed to focus to hold pace for a continuous long run. Strength work: one set single leg goblet squats, plank, balance exercises.
Friday – 9.3 easy treadmill miles (9:52/141 bpm) while listening to “The Dovekeepers.” Discovered from my new watch that my body is slightly unbalanced favoring my right leg while running outside and now that it is unbalanced favoring my left leg on treadmill. The imbalance bothered my left foot toward the end of the run but felt better as soon as I stopped. Strength work: 3 sets Lateral lunges with Kettlebells to strengthen adductors, 3×20 push-ups, 2×30 weighted eccentric heel drops, one leg touches, star reaches, 2 sets single legged weighted goblet squats.
Saturday – 14.6 miles (8:46/159 bpm) with NY Flyers through northern Manhattan up to the Highbridge in frigid weather. LOVED the camaraderie, scenery and general feeling of badassery running in frigid, windy weather with friends through four northern Manhattan parks, including some dirt trails and rocks, past Alexander Hamilton’s grange and across the Highbridge Aqueduct. Heard one of my favorite lines when a man in the Bronx neighborhood we were running through asked if we were running to Central Park, and when we said that were, exclaimed “NO WAY!!” in a heavy Bronx accent. I had intended to run additional miles alone but really wanted to make it home in time to see the Olympic Trials Marathon. I was moved and inspired by the event, seeing Desi’s control and late race strength, Shalane and Amy’s teamwork, Amy’s come back from fourth place to win and Meb’s strength at 40 and consistent sportsmanship. Wish I could have seen it in person. Many thanks to my fellow Salties who were taking pictures and kudos to Tea who toughed it through hot and difficult conditions. I am proud of you!!
Sunday – 10.1 miles on gym treadmill (9:06/144 bpm), focused on balanced running. Strength and balance work: one legged touches, star reaches, 2×30 weighted eccentric heel drops, 3×15 lateral lunges with 45# Kettlebell, 4×10 box jumps, 3×12 100# deadlifts.
I am so thankful to end a 73 mile week feeling strong and healthy! And looking forward to a cut back and some skiing next week to keep things that way.
Weekly total: 73 miles
I don’t know how long the stars will stay aligned, but I am savoring this moment. For my first marathon cycle ever, everything is clicking in my training. Also, the new running watch I got this week has given me estimates and predictions that are keeping me motivated. On top of that, my legs actually feel good. Here’s how the week went:
Monday – 5 recovery paced miles on treadmill at gym plus deadlifts, box jumps, planks and push ups. Waited til afternoon for my workout to sleep in and let my body recover from back to back hard days over the weekend.
Tuesday – 10 miles in CP, mostly on dirt bridle path and reservoir, easier than usual, managing to a 140 bpm heart rate, in light of big mileage week and hard workout planned for Wednesday. Strength work: one set single leg goblet squats.
Wednesday – 14.3 miles including 3 mi/2 mi/2 mi/2 mi at GMP on CP hills (7:52 average). Strength work: side planks, hamstring exercises. Legs much less sore than expected after MP workout.
Thursday — 7.5 miles on CP lower loop with 6x1k (7:28, 7:33, 7:33, 7:39, 7:28, 7:26) with 75 sec walk recovery. Decided on the fly to do my two quality workouts back to back after waking up not sore and with high HRV score to give maximum recovery before Sunday’s long run. At the end of the run, my new Garmin FR630 estimated that I have 49 VO2 max. I hope so!Strength work: 2 sets single leg goblet squats with slightly more reps on weaker leg, 2×20 push-ups. Legs feel better than expected after back to back workouts.
Friday – 4 recovery paced miles (127 bpm) during heavy snowfall, winter wonderland with doggie Deena while listening to “Marriage of Opposites”. Strength work: 2 sets weighted goblet squats with heavier weight, 3 minute plank, box jumps. Legs feel great.
Saturday – 10 easy miles (9:50/139 bpm) on gym treadmill while listening to “Marriage of Opposites.” Strength work: deadlifts 100#x26, 60 reps weighted goblet squats, 2 sets reverse lunges, 1 set weighted hamstring exercises. Legs feel great.
Sunday – 17.7 miles in Central Park (9:07 avg/161 bpm), 8 with a Flyer friend and the remainder while listening to “Marriage of Opposites, which is exquisite. Ran the last 1.5 miles hard, telling myself to “train hard, race easy.” At the end of the run, my Garmin increased its estimate of my VO2 Max to 50. I am skeptical, given my marathon PR, but it is still encouraging and motivational to see.
Weekly total: 68.5 miles.
During week 7 of Boston marathon training, I experimented with putting my interval workout midweek and stacking my marathon pace and “long run” days back to back to provide maximum recovery days the rest of the week. This worked well for me, allowing me to go hard on my hard days and run more total miles of speed work without feeling on the knife’s edge of injury. I also enjoyed a boost from running with my son.
Monday – Planned day off.
Tuesday – 9.6 recovery paced miles (9:51/143 bpm) in CP with strides at end. Finally got the nerve to run briefly with and meet Lyle, an 80ish runner I see often who inspired me. He told me he has been running for more than 30 years and runs around 10 miles per day. Strength work: 3×15 weighted goblet squats, 2×20 push ups.
Wednesday – 11.5 miles, with 12×3 mins hard uphill/downhill (7:45, 7:26, 7:19, 7:12, 7:39, 7:21, 7:18, 7:36, 7:49, 7:05, 7:26) with 2 min recovery (1:30 jog/:30 walk). Central Park was very crowded and had to weave among people, making it challenging, along with the hills, to run a consistent pace. Feel like I am getting stronger and faster and that my speed limiting factor is muscular endurance not heart rate. Strength work: 2×80 sec side plank, 1 set single leg weighted goblet squats.
Thursday – 6.2 recovery paced miles in CP (9:44/141 bpm) with strides at end. I am almost finished listening to “Primal Endurance” and have started experimenting with tweaking my diet to teach my body to more efficiently burn a higher percentage of fat (rather than carbs) during exercise. Strength work: 1 set weighted single leg goblet squats, 50 push-ups, 2×30 weighted eccentric heel drops, 3×12 deadlifts, 1 set Kettlebell hamstring exercises, 3×10 box jumps.
Friday – 10.5 miles easy (9:29/146 bpm) on a beautiful day in CP. I usually skip the almost half mile Great Hill at the back but felt good enough to go for it today. I was completely absorbed in “Primal Endurance” which I would highly recommend to endurance athletes looking for the next great book. I had GMP miles on schedule but woke up with a bit of delayed onset muscle soreness from Tuesday’s workout, and while warming up felt sore places in my quad and hip that had not completely resolved from Tuesday, so decided to run easy another day.
Saturday – 13 miles in Central Park with 7.3 at GMP (7:56/173 bpm). Glad I waited another day to do this run. Felt strong and mostly enjoyed this tempo after settling in, especially the thrill passing lots of runners instead of being the slow poke that I am on easy days where I train by heart rate. Brief stop at 4 miles. Planned to tempo 8 miles at 7:55 but body ran away with the pace at the end, spiking my heart rate, so I took a break and started my cool down.
Sunday – 13.5 miles in CP (9:30/151 bpm), the first six miles with my son! Ran most of the run easy, then the last 1.5 miles at GMP. Strength work: weighted eccentric heel drops. Hopefully box jumps if I can get warmed up again.
Weekly total: 64 miles
This was a week of contrasts. I ran in sunny Florida, through the beginning of a blizzard in CT and through a patchwork of snow and ice after three feet was dumped on NYC. I loved every minute of it.
Monday – 6.8 miles, with 2×800 (7:17/176 bpm; 7:16/173 bpm) with 60 sec rests. Planned to do 8×800 but my watch died at the end of the second interval, perhaps frozen in 21 degree weather and 20 mph winds. Ugh! Started with 2 sets weighted eccentric heel drops.
Tuesday — 9.5 miles in Orlando with 6×800 (7:31, 7:31, 7:28, 7:32, 7:28, 7:36) with 1:00 rests around a lake in Orlando. Paces turned out much slower than low 7:00s reflected on my pacing watch or I would have pushed harder. I think I am finally getting the hang of intervals and the value of the rest period not long enough to let me completely recover in increasing endurance, ability to handle lactate and speed of recovery. My body felt strong during the workout and I felt elated afterward.
Wednesday — 8.5 recovery paced miles (9:56) around beautiful Lake Baldwin in Orlando FL while listening to “Primal Endurance.” Strength work: planks, push-ups, weighted goblet squats and hamstring roll outs with Swiss ball.
Thursday — 9.5 miles easy (9:14/124 bpm) around Lake Baldwin listening to “Primal Endurance.” My workout had MP miles on the calendar but I woke up after two days of slightly insufficient sleep feeling a bit sore and with heart rate a bit elevated and looking unready for a hard workout. I had signed up to run the Fred Lebow Half Marathon on Sunday, which would bring speed work for the week to 16 miles, and so decided not to push it. Felt my Achilles a bit at the end of the run and so was glad I had listened to my body. Strength work: planks and push-ups.
Friday – 8.3 continuous easy miles (9:37/144 bpm) on Central Park dirt bridle path with strides at end. In last mile running home on pavement, my 144 bpm pace was 8:21. Felt good for morning after travel day. Strength work: 3 sets single leg weighted goblet squats.
Saturday – 5.3 miles using my Yaktrax in the early hours of a blizzard! I had to run very slowly in deep snow but felt very alive to be out there. Strength work: 3 min plank, 2×30 eccentric heel drops with 20 lb weight, 3×10 box jumps, hamstring exercises with 45 lb Kettlebell
Sunday – 14.5 miles in Central Park with New York Flyers, with 8 mile tempo in the middle miles averaging 8:16/178 bpm. SO MUCH SNOW after Saturday’s blizzard. My body was itching for its weekly tempo after the Lebow Half Marathon I signed up for that morning was canceled, but knew I was unlikely to hit MP with the patchwork of snowy and icy spots around the park. After warming up for a couple of miles I found myself pushing the pace and then, inadvertently, pulling away from my group and running alone. I was unable to run as fast as a clear day but still managed to get in a good effort. Loved that my music playlist cycled through the Rocky theme song as I was training through the snow. Strength training: three sets weighted single leg goblet squats.
Weekly total: 62.5 miles
Hello from Windham Mountain, NY, where I am enjoying skiing with my daughter and a little cut back at the end of five weeks of building mileage and two challenging workouts this week of long hills at half marathon pace and a solidly sub-8:00 six mile tempo which included a huge hill. Here are the details:
Monday 1/11 – 10 miles in dark, 28 degree weather plus high winds on track and trail while listening to “All the Light We Cannot See,” very easy with strides at end (9:48 avg). Felt proud of myself for being out there.
Tuesday 1/12 – 12.5 miles with 7×5 mins uphill at HMP (7:46, 7:35, 7:55, 7:42, 7:41, 7:41, 7:35), 2:00 steady paced downhill running plus 1:30 rest recovery. 8:08 average running pace for workout. I worried over this workout for a week and was proud that I got it done. Ran on Central Park’s long west side hills, whose length allowed shorter recovery than the uphill portion to increase Interval benefit. Ran with joy and felt one with the effort! I modified this workout from Hanson’s prescribed 12×3 mins uphill with slow jog (more than 3 mins) downhill recovery – but I think it has at least as much benefit with lower risk of repetitive motion injury from running the same hill hard 12 times. Activated my core and glutes before the run with planks, bridges and single leg goblet squats with 20 lb weight.
Wednesday 1/13 – 7.5 miles easy on treadmill at gym while listening to “All the Light We Cannot See” and (9:41/144 bpm) with 4x MP “strides” at end. Also did solid strength and plyo work: 2 set weighted eccentric heel drops, 3 sets deadlifts, 2 sets Kettlebell hamstring exercises, 2×10 box jumps, bounds and various planks.
Thursday 1/14 – 12.5 miles in Central Park, including a hair shy of 6 miles to my turnoff for home at GMP (7:54/175 bpm) in freezing, snowy weather. Activated glutes and core before the run with weighted goblet squats and planks. This was a hard run: I had to run home to poo before starting the tempo part of the run, then felt very nauseous about a mile in from trouble regulating my body temperature while running hard in cold and wind. Hanson’s said to run this on a hilly course (preparing for Boston) at GMP effort. So I ran the full CP loop including the 4/10 mile great hill that is an 8-9 pct grade. Held average GMP through up and down of that massive hill (7:56 for that mile) About a mile later, I started to lose pace so allowed myself a less than 60 second stop at 3.65 miles, til my heart rate recovered to 130 bpm. When I resumed, I really pushed hard and picked up the pace, concentrating on using my muscles and smooth, strong movement. Felt surprised and pleased when I saw my average pace at the end.
Friday 1/15 – 7.1 miles heart based recovery pace (9:24/135 bpm) on trails with Deena doggie. Reverse lunges and lateral lunges with 45 lb kettlebell before the run.
Sat 1/16 – Planned day off to ski!
Sunday 1/17 – Planned day off to ski!
Weekly total: 50 miles
The training stimuluses from the Hanson’s training plan appear to be working and I look forward to my workouts next week.
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