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Chi-Marathon Recap!

Recapping a marathon is a tough thing to do. Which is why i needed the week to digest and reflect on everything. Now being a week removed, I think it’s safe to say i had a pretty awesome race :). I didn’t hit my A goal–to qualify for Boston 3:35. I didn’t even hit my B goal–under 3:45, I did however reach my C goal–under 4:00. With a new PR 3:50:10, it was the best I could give last Sunday and I couldn’t be happier!

When I was deciding on a race plan the week of the marathon I still wanted to shoot for the BQ qualifying time, but I was trying to be honest with myself and 3:40-3:45 seemed more realistic based on the training I had. The plan was to head into the race nice and slow (just as i’d done in training) and pick up the pace about halfway through and try to makeup time in the second half. I basically wanted my first half to be as comfortable as possible.

The start line was electric! The weather was beautiful, 55 and sunny, and I had some really great tunes loaded into the ipod. For the first 30 minutes of the race I chatted with a really nice lady who was running her very 1st marathon. Then I said goodbye and good luck to her, put in the headphones and took the first half of the race pretty easy, just as planned.

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 6.18.17 PMChicago was so energetic and loud the entire race! There were very few spots of quiet running and I actually embraced them and enjoyed the few minutes of silence when they came around. Especially when I hit the halfway mark and decided it was time to work. Unfortunately my legs only wanted to go faster for a few miles.

Around 19-20 I slowed down consistently from 8:20s-8:30s to 8:45s. I don’t feel like I hit a wall. I felt well fueled.There was a point that I honestly couldn’t make my legs move any faster. I was just cruising where I felt slightly uncomfortable. Once I passed the 20 mile mark I realized the Boston Qualifying time was near impossible since I had no giddy-up left.

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 6.19.57 PMInstead of giving up or feeling defeated, I chose to focus on goal #2. Get in under 3:45! Around this time, mile 22, both inner quads cramped up. Never in my running career or life have these muscles cramped up. It was bad. I don’t know if you recall the last and only marathon I ran, at the same mile 22, I hit a wall. And a Santa Claus looking man was handing out Pabst Blue Ribbon. After shot-gunning a beer with a fellow runner, a good laugh and full belly of carbs later, I was back to it. This time at mile 22 I was in a squat position against the side of the road trying to stretch out my quads, a black figure walked up to me (he was back-lit by the sun and basically looked like a saint), pulled a white pill out of his pocket and said the magic words “do you need salt?”

After I took the salt and water he handed me, thanked him about a million times, I started running again. The cramps subsided quickly but I had definitely lost time. Staring at the Garmin I decided it was time to focus on Goal #3–Sub 4 hours. Again, I didn’t let this deflate me, I kept telling myself I was going to finish a marathon. And that in itself is freaking awesome.

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 6.20.34 PMThe last few miles I had to play a game that humbled me to the core. Run a few minutes, walk for 45 seconds. Run a few minutes, walk 45 seconds. I didn’t get upset at this beginner style running technique, instead it made me smile..that damn marathon is always harder and tougher than you can imagine. There are no 20 mile runs that can ever prepare you for a marathon. Those last few miles are ran with heart, not your legs. At least, that’s what the posters near the end told me.

The last half mile was my favorite. The cheering and crowds were awesome, the hill at the last turn was horrible, but forced a strong finish. I finally pulled out my headphones to cross the line. No distractions, just the sounds of hundreds of feet finishing their 26.2.mile trek.

Here are the things that went right from this marathon: I made it through the training and the marathon uninjured! I had a 38 minute PR! I stayed positive and happy the entire race. I didn’t give up when my pace wasn’t where I wanted it. I high-fived my best friend at mile 5!

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 6.19.26 PMHere are the things that didn’t go well: Pro Compression socks make my feet sweat–I had MONSTER blisters that I started to feel at mile 11 (next time I’ll run in calf sleeves). I think I started too slow. I almost had the nutrition down, but kinda forgot once mile 20 came around (should have grabbed the bananas that were offered!) Stress from work had definitely taken it’s toll during training. Cramps happened in my left foot at mile 16 and kept happening off and on until I crossed the finish. Cramps in my quads stole a lot of time.

I already feel a lot more prepared with marathon knowledge! It takes a lot of practice to hit major goals. I still have an urge to qualify for Boston, but I’m ready to hit shorter race goals and run a fast half marathon next spring. Stay tuned and thank you always for your love and support here and on instagram!

20141016_205831Last week!

Mon-Thurs: DESERVED REST!

Friday: 30min lateral elliptical, 20min biceps/core

Saturday:  2m walk

Sunday: REST

Miles: 0 running, 2 walking

 How long do you take off after a marathon?

How long do you wait to start planning your next race ;) ?


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Chicago Marathon – Just the Tip(s)!

Monday: 3m easy 8:35/pace, 20 min triceps, 10 abs

I have a good handful of friends and bloggers  that are running this Sunday’s Chicago Marathon! I want to help as much as I can with course tips & things to remember as we all begin to pack our bags for the weekend. Hope this helps!

Don’t Forget!

#1 Bring lots of different clothing options. Chicago’s weather is crazy this time of year and you never know if you’ll need shorts or pants, tshirt or tank come race day. Make sure you have an outfit plan set beforehand i.e. If the temps start at 55 or higher, I go in shorts and sports bra (sometimes a tank top). Anything under 55 gets a tshirt/capris.

#2 Bring throwaway clothes. You will want a sweatshirt/pants/hat/gloves you can toss off at the start line or in the first few miles of the race when you start warming up. You can clean out your closet, or just stop at a goodwill and get some ugly race day clothes :).

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my throwaways. very old clothes from the closet

#3 Wear sunscreen/sunglasses. Sunscreen will keep your core temperature cooler longer–important during a marathon! Plus you know..who wants wrinkles?

#4 Don’t Chafe. It isn’t fun. Even if you’ve never ever, ever chafed before, a marathon might just do it to ya. Get some body glide, lube, vaseline, or what I love to use Bandaid Friction Stick and do what Frank’s Red Hot’s would suggest and put that shit on everything. No joke. I put that friction cream on inner thighs, under boobs, even the places where a tank or tee could rub against my skin. Toes, heels, arches…I’m not joking, i put this on everything. It’s skin insurance. (the friction cream is dry and non-messy which is why it goes everywhere…vaseline might be too messy for everywhere)

don't forget the little things!

don’t forget the little things!

#5 Bring Compression socks/pants for traveling. These things have saved my life legs more than once while sitting on an airplane or driving home for hours. Seriously throw on a pair after a race or after you shower, your legs will never feel better (after a marathon of course).

#6 Race Day Nutrition- Bring the stuff you’ve tried and tested on your long runs. Honey Stingers have been my jam for the last year. Big thanks to my coach Lauren for introducing me to them!

#7 Coffee. Lots of it on race day. mmmmmmm

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Course Info  (that I wish I had known before the longest run of my life.)  *SPOILERS!* <–haha

-The first 7 miles you run through the beautiful downtown area & then along the parks and lake for a bit. This tends to be windy since you’re on the lakefront and heading north. Don’t fight the wind or get caught up in pacing just yet. The crowd will be thick and the excitement will catch you early on. You’ll need your energy for the end of the race.

-Don’t forget to enjoy seeing all the different neighborhoods, they pass by quickly so try and take it all in.

-There are a lot of straight miles. Like you run in a straight line without breaks or turns for a mile or two at once.  Around Mile 23 the crowd support becomes scarce, the neighborhood is not very pretty and the last 3.2 miles are a straight line back up Michigan Ave. Just hang in there, put one foot in front of the other and crank up the motivational jams. You’re gonna need it. The crowd will reappear the closer you near the finish.

-It ends on a hill. Earn the medal. A flat 26 miles and you’re gonna finish on a .2 hill, but don’t worry, the crowd support is back and it’s almost time for a free beer.

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1st marathon medal 2011

-Don’t forget to enjoy yourself. This is one of the country’s biggest and best marathons! Take the time to distract yourself from the hard running and read the signs people are holding up, high five little kids, read the tech shirts in front of you to learn about different charities and reasons why people are running, smile, say hi to your fellow racers, give a couple words of encouragement if you see someone struggling near the end, give someone a compliment if you can. No matter what, enjoy this race, enjoy the run and have fun while you’re doing it.

Last Week’s Workouts

Monday: 20m Chest/Biceps, 10 abs

Tuesday: 5.3m tempo 7:49/pace, 10 core

Wednesday: 30m triceps & back

Thursday: 6m easy 8:23/pace

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 1.5m hilly hike!

Sunday: 10.2m easy 8:09/pace

Total Miles: 23

 What your best marathon advice?

 What’s your favorite race day nutrition?

 


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Let’s Recap it! Philly Part Deux

Let’s start at the end. I PR’d my 10th half marathon in a row. I don’t know when this crazy ass streak will end, I’m hoping not anytime soon! I went into this race with no idea of what pace I could maintain or a race plan in general, I figured the day would choose the pace.

I was not tapered or rested in the slightest, this wasn’t a “goal race”, I’ve never done a race this difficult before a half or full marathon, and I’m coming off an injury where training began later than ideal (mid-July). Which is why i didn’t have a goal time in mind. At the last minute I figured I’d think of this as a long tempo workout instead of a race. It definitely helped to take the pressure off.

Relaxed walking to the start

Relaxed walking to the start

My tempo workouts (holding a faster-than-goal-pace for X amount of miles) have been in the 7:00-7:35 range, so I wanted to be conservative and try to stay as close to 7:30s as possible and push if anything was left at the end. Unfortunately my Garmin went a little haywire after Mile 1 and I was on my own as far as pacing goes.

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Pacing is not a strong suit of mine and as the first miles flashed across my watch– 7:30 (sweet!), 7:07 (shit!), 7:17 (sllloooww down!).. I really tried to run based on feel and effort while still trying to keep as close to the 7:30 pace as I could. After mile 7 I realized just how hard it was going to be to finish the race at this pace for several reasons.

It was warm and muggy . Even in the early morning hours it was close to 80 degrees and SUPER humid. There’s a  good article on how humidity affects your running. Basically the more moisture in the air, the hotter your body feels. And I was definitely feeling warm. So much so that I actually felt nauseous at mile 8 until the race was over. There were definite moments of “i’m gonna run against the grass just in case I hurl…” and “this is going to be a funny finishing photo of projectile vomiting.” No joke, it was bad. But obviously that didn’t happen, so yay!

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Those were the two things that were physically effecting me. The mental side was a different story.  I was coming up with reasons excuses not to do my best when I felt like giving up because things weren’t going perfectly. It’s a very strange feeling running a race with friends/family/bloggers/coaches looking for you to hit your goals (sometimes this is a great motivator, other times it’s stressful).

So there I was, in the middle of running my “not for a PR, not a goal race” pace and I’m coming up with all these excuses as to why i didn’t PR or do my best BEFORE I was even finished!! I battled with this for a while and finally snapped out of it. Every runner was dealing with the same humid conditions, and every runner came out there to accomplish something. I went out to run a 13 mile tempo–not an 8 mile tempo and a few slogging miles.

I did the best thing I could have done. I shushed my brain and checked in with my body. Legs felt better than fine, arms weren’t tired, and form was good. Why was I being such a wuss!? My mental game hasn’t been the best and to get me out of feeling sorry for myself I started to focus on the big picture. I was injured 4 months ago, and coming back from that was a slow process.  I am so fortunate and lucky that I was able to jump right back into a marathon training plan and stick to my fall schedule.

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Here’s a secret: i love racing. I love testing the training and seeing improvements. I love running alongside people with similar goal paces. I love crossing the finish line feeling good about myself and the countless hours and miles I put my body through. I get excited each and every time I cross a finish line, look to the sky and think, “what’s next?”

Around this time of self- high-fiving, a girl ran up next to me and said “You look great, you’ve been pacing us for the last 5 miles, are you going for a 1:35:00 too?” I looked at her laughed and said thank you and no i wasn’t shooting for that time, just trying to stay under 1:40:00. But it was just what I needed to give me a boost, stop thinking about puking and keep putting one foot down in front of the other.

Her name was Maria and yes she hit her goal. She inspired the crap out of me that day because I tried keeping her and her pacer in eyesight once they passed me. I’m hoping when Chicago comes I can just keep the time of 3:35 in my head and work at hitting that goal with a smile on my face like Maria.

Got to catch up with maria after the race

Got to catch up with maria after the race

Minus the pukey feeling from the humidity, i felt really good about this race. This is probably the first time I finished a race smiling in ages, almost cried and wasn’t in pain all day. My legs felt normal. Which means I didn’t demolish myself on the course. I ran a smart race and did what I needed to do to prepare for Chicago.

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Last Week

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 5m easy recovery 9:25/pace

Wednesday: 20min back, 10 abs

Thursday: 7m tempo 7:49/pace, 20min legs, 30min core

Friday: 5 easy 8:55/pace, 30min upper body

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 14m easy 8:16/pace

Total Miles: 31

Anyone else running Chicago??  in 10 days!??!

 


6 Comments

Philly Part 1

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 5m easy recovery 9:25/pace

Once I pull my thoughts together from Sunday’s half i’ll do a recap. Right now i’m still wrapping my head around doing a half in the middle of training for a marathon, what that really means and how tough it was not to go all out during a race.

For now we can focus on the fun! Traveling for a race is soooo much fun when you do it right. I.E. pack all the things you need, compress and roll the hell out of your legs after sitting in a car and of course carbo load properly.

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Pack all necessary items–> I have a half checklist I use, but what I need to add to it in the future is “bring extra running clothes for when it’s warmer or colder than expected.” Especially during fall races where it can be cool one day and blazing hot the next. In my case it was humid and warm. I wasn’t expecting that at all and ended up a tad overdressed and warm.

I was too warm with a tank top on and compression socks–although i love the socks, they’re not very comfortable in 80 degree weather. I’m hoping the Chicago Marathon will be cooler so I don’t need to worry about wearing Pro Compressions.

I wore a tank over this and the compression socks--although i love them, not very good for weather close to 80 degrees :(

Compress, stretch and roll your legs!* I always place an asterisk on this one because it’s not something you want to do days or the night before the race if it’s not normally in your routine. Light stretching and foam rolling is a great way to keep your legs loose, but be careful of stretching until it hurts or leaves you sore! Once I overheard a girl at a finish line say, “i can’t believe how sore i was the whole race, guess I shouldn’t have foam rolled for the first time last night.” No, she shouldn’t have done something entirely new the night before a race. Sometimes common sense falls asleep during the days before a race and you think trying something different will give you a secret edge on race day. Unfortunately it doesn’t.

Now the fun stuff. Carbo loading. I generally start adding carbs (the white delicious kind) into dinners the week of a race. Because this half marathon was in the middle of a training cycle i didn’t start a week out, i started Friday night with a pizza…even though i forgot to take a picture of it haha.

store bought dough, mushrooms, spinach, vodka sauce, sausage & mozzarella

store bought dough, mushrooms, spinach, vodka sauce, sausage & mozzarella

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Saturday morning (day before race), I had blueberry pancakes and in the evening before the race I had pasta, bread and a beer (don’t worry just one! and it was accompanied by water).

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Definitely went into this race well fueled, legs felt as good as they could have and I did my best with Chicago Marathon at the forefront of my mind :)

Workout recap!

Monday: 20min shoulders

Tuesday: 5m easy 9:15/pace, 20min chest/biceps

Wednesday:  6.3m tempo 7:45/pace, 20min back/triceps

Thursday:  Rest

Friday: 5m easy 9:10/pace

Saturday: Rest (walked around Philly)

Sunday: 13.1 Race 7:35/pace 1:39:25!

Total Miles:  29.5

Have you ever used a half marathon as a tune up for a marathon?

Ever go into a race completely un-tapered?

 


4 Comments

The Big Easy

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 5m easy 9:15/pace, 20 min chest/biceps

Racing season just got real. Sunday I was scheduled for 16 miles, but I am running the Philadelphia Half Marathon this upcoming Sunday, so i wanted to wing it and shoot for 18-20 so I could get a long run under my belt and possibly try and race this weekend and not be burned out.

I woke up at 5:30am.. completely unaware it’s pitch black at that god awful hour and it threw me off. You can’t run (nor should you) run alone in the dark on trails. I drove to the trail i planned to run on and headed to the lit main roads and stayed the course until the sun started rising. Then I found another entrance to the same trail and kept on with the plan.

After 20 :)

After 20 :)

The plan was to run 10 miles at a really conservative pace and the 2nd half just 20-30 seconds faster and see how i felt heading into those last 2-3 unplanned miles. I kept the pace around 9:00 for the first 10. From miles 4-11 I ended up on a half marathon course! Whoops–the Parks Half Marathon was on the same path so I got to enjoy the local crowd support, cheering and lots of runners. I was traveling the path early so some of the crowd thought I was the first woman coming through and I kept having to say i’m just on my Sunday 20 miler! Just on my 20 miler.. who am i!?

It was a challenge to stick to the pace plan while there was so much excitement around me so I kept telling myself i have races coming and i have to go a lot further than 13 miles. At the 10 mile turn around I decided to pick up the pace and gradually  kept going faster. My last  3 miles were 7:50 pace—Mile 20 was a 7:46.  Yeah, i’m tooting my own horn, because i’ve been WTF‘ing all over the place and i felt really in control and had a TON of energy even after i was done.

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Things I took away from this long run:

1) You can conserve energy by running slower in the early miles. This run proved I can pick up the pace and I don’t have to waste fast miles early on.

2) Eating frequently about every 10-15min starting at the first 30min works for me. Even though at one time i held a GU pack for almost 45 minutes, taking small bites was easy on the stomach and i never hit a wall. (bonus, i got to check my watch for “food time” which distracted me from pace/distance/time etc.

3) Compression socks must be made of angel wings. My lower legs, which have been problematic for me, felt perfect the entire run.

4) It’s very important to check in with yourself during long runs. Be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling so you don’t end up injured or hurt.

5) Boston qualifying time is still in reach. I had big doubts because of the crunched training time from the ankle injury, but I feel like if everything goes right, it could happen.

6) After a crazy long run you have to treat yourself.

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Previously on Cori’s Workout Log…

Monday: 20min Kettlebells shoulder/squat workout

Tuesday: 6m 4X600s,  20min biceps/chest

Wednesday: 20min triceps, 10 abs

Thursday: 7.1 tempo 7:59/pace

Friday: 50 min core/upper body

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 20m easy 8:35/pace

Total Miles:  33.1

What’s your favorite after long run treat?


8 Comments

It was the Best of Runs, it as the Worst of Runs

Last Saturday was one of the top 3 worst attempts at a long run. I forgot to lay out—everything—the night before. So I was up at 7:00am trying to make decisions. Clothes, food, what to bring, where to run, music playlist, you name it, I was not prepared at all.

Once I finally got everything together an hour later I drove to the hilly trails where I figured would be a great place to conquer a long run.  I walked out of my car, started warming up my legs, took about 5 jogging steps toward the trail and it hit me. A migraine. The blurry vision, throbs with every step headache. My logic was to continue and see if it subsided (i had just taken some allergy medicine and a lot of water) because I really really needed to fit the run in. (Also-I just dumped almond milk on me as i’m typing, i think this long run has some bad juju attached to it.)

compressing the day before

compressing the day before the long run

Anywho, to make the long run story short, I did just that. I cut my run short. I tried so hard to continue and make it through, but it was one of those days where every little thing about running wasn’t comfortable. My left shin was tight, I didn’t like the shoes I was wearing (they gave me a blister–more on that later), I had chaffed a few days before and the spot was still sore, I HATED the music i was listening to, i’m not a fan of carrying a water bottle, it was humid and hot, I forgot sunglasses.. i mean the list goes on.

I battled with myself about cutting the run short. What if I always stopped when it gets hard? What if the marathon hits a place where it’s unbearable? I realized that doing 6.5m in complete mental and physical agony (with the headache getting worse) I was allowed to call it a day. It goes to show you that there are always terrible, horrible, no good, very bad run days.

The thing you learn from the bad runs, is that usually means there’s an awesome run around the corner. It Just so happened to be the very next morning. Sunday I had my shit together and was out the door in half the time as the day before. I chose to tackle the same trail, cause i had to prove to myself the day before was a fluke. The weather was a lot cooler which always helps, I had a pack of Honey Stinger chews in my pocket and a left the water bottle in the car, hoping i’d stumble on a water fountain. Which I did, cause hello, this was the awesome run!

All the things that were irritating from the day before were fixed or better. I wore my new Saucony Mayhem’s which feel like light clouds, I stayed at a decent 8:43/pace (don’t forget i’m running hills!), I hit a brand new trail, that I realized heads right into DC, and I ended up feeling so good that I did an extra mile to make it 15 for the day.

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What I’ve learned from doing long marathon training runs is that you have to prepare for them like you do for race day:

-Lay out your clothes the night before

-Plug in all your electronics you’re taking

-Have food/coffee/water ready to go

-Pick out the location for your run

-Prepare your music or running playlist

Marathon is just around the corner.. i’m excited to see what happens!

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Last Weeks Roundup!

Monday: 5.2 easy 8:19/pace

Tuesday: 4.1m easy 8:40/pace, 20 biceps

Wednesday: 7m tempo 7:30/pace, 15 min glutes

Thursday: 4.5m easy 9:00/pace, 30min legs/shoulders

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 6.6m easy (but not really) 10:00/pace

Sunday: 15m 8:43/pace easy, long

Total Miles: 42.4

What are your tips for long run training?

When do you call it quits on a run that isn’t going well?


10 Comments

Train for Terrain

What I’m liking this training cycle more than last is that i’m FINALLY slowing down during easy runs and pushing during hard workouts. This is leaving the ol’ legs refreshed on the hard days, and is letting me enjoy the easy days because they are finally, truly easy. It only took me about 6 years to get that concept.

Running lately has been tough though. Where i live is nothing but hills–and not hills like baby bunny rollie pollies–They’re monsters. The kind that remind me of the Rock N’ Roll DC race from this year. The kind that defeat you, force you to stop, wheeze and angrily shake your fist to the sky!

Okay, alright! I don’t live in the mountains or anything, but this Midwestern girl has flatland legs that never forget. Which brings me to my next point. The half and full marathon I’m attempting in the next 6 weeks are “flat and fast” as the websites always claim. However, when you run hills all the time, flat and fast can equal muscle burnout when you’re not used to it. The best advice I was ever given as a newbie runner was to train for the terrain.

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After a treadmill run in my new Saucony Mayhem’s

The first time I put this into practice was Cincinnati’s Flying Pig. When i found out the first half was a 7-mile climb i panicked. I was training on pancake flat roads in Indiana. The 2 things I turned to for help was the treadmill’s incline button & the trusty stairmill. I did 2 workouts a week that I considered hill work. (Hey i was a newbie, i had no clue what to do!) I would climb the stairmill for 20 minutes at a moderate effort, then finish with miles on the treadmill. I wanted to get my legs used to running tired. The second workout I did was hill sprints. So I’d do a normal/easy run on the ‘mill and sprinkle in hard sprints on a 3-4% incline. Those workouts saved me and proved effective when I hit a 9 minute PR.

While training for these flat races, most of the time I get outside, but right now for a few of my speed workouts and recovery runs i’ve hit up the treadmill. Strange I know, but I feel like I need to get used to the same muscles being used over and over again so I don’t burn out during these flat races.

Making sure I don't burn out from Froyo either.

Making sure I don’t burn out from Froyo either.

The uphills/downhills/straightaways on a hilly course give your muscles relief by changing the muscles being used. On flat courses you repeatedly exhaust the same muscles the entire race. This sometimes gets overlooked when you see “flat and fast.” I swear sometimes I look forward to small hills just to work a different muscle and get a break.

Basically what I’m getting at here is that I know the hills I live in are gonna help me kill these races, but I can’t overlook the fact that flat is not what i’m used to. Always do your course research and see if you can mimic the difficult parts in your hometown. The Chicago Marathon has a lot of straight miles or mile and half spots that have no turns, nothing but running in a straight flat line. I found a trail that runs alongside an expressway and it’s straight and seems to go on forever… I’m trying to get my mental game into it!

Kara's running Philadelphia 1/2! Hope to see her sometime during that weekend.

The always inspiring Kara, who’s running the Philadelphia 1/2! Hope to see her sometime during that weekend.

Kristina recently hit up an overpass to prepare for the hill in the Portland Marathon (her 1st!) this fall. Such a smart thing to do because once she hits that hill in the actual race she can picture the training she did up the overpass. These tricks help during races!

How do you train for destination races with different terrain than what you’re used to?

 

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