How am i already at another peak week?? Seems like yesterday this was Philly’s marathon peak last November. I can full heartedly say as much as i love running, i did not care for this training cycle. I’m gonna be honest, this was one big experiment after another. From counting calories/macros, adding and removing foods, trying to find balance with strength training and napping whenever I had the chance… Every aspect was challenging and it started off on the wrong foot for me.
Hansons Marathon Method & Half Marathon Method training plans are 18 weeks long. Both of them. I assumed for some reason the half training plan would be either 12 or 16 weeks. And after my happy-go-lucky base building in December, I dove into training early January and realized I was already several weeks behind! I started at the week I was already supposed to be at (week 9), thinking i was ready mentally and physically to jump in and handle it. For the record I kinda was, but it was mentally tough to skip weeks. I don’t recommend it.
I should have started from the beginning of the plan and adjusted for an earlier taper, not the other way around by playing catch up. It was physically tough hitting 50 mile weeks. Again, i assumed volume would be less in the Hansons half. Turns out the half plan is extremely similar to the full. Paces are where it differs and for a half marathon and long term goal of breaking 1:30, the pacing is tough on top of the weekly volume.
That all being said. This is the hardest i’ve trained for a half, but my heart isn’t fully into it with the passion I felt during the Philadelphia training. I think it’s because i’m having so much more fun with the weightlifting and Crossfit right now. I’m a newbie at Olympic weightlifting so I’m gaining strength quickly and get to see PR’s almost every week. It’s so fun, challenging and rejuvenating.
The half marathon has been my favorite distance, but also a tough distance for me. I want the sub 1:30 badly, but I know it’s going to be work. It might be work for the fall when my mind can wrap itself around a hard half. I’m hoping that the Rock n’ Roll DC 1/2 will bring either a course PR (under 1:37:07) or an overall 1/2 PR (under 1:35:36). As long as the taper goes well I think i’m more than capable of these goals.
Now let’s talk about nutrition. I mentioned a few times that my energy had been zapped. For a quick moment i thought i was overtraining, but that wasn’t the case. I just wasn’t eating right. I wasn’t taking in enough carbohydrates.
I think the 50 mile weeks caught up with the 2-4 days a week I was lifting and when I was hungry my face was in a jar of peanut butter. It was funny at first, like haha I can eat 2 jars (big jars) of PB a week because I’m a runner… yeah no. All the peanut butter was not helping me with performance. Yes, it was helping eliminate the calorie deficit and is delicious and should be it’s own food group, but all the fat was not helping replenish my glycogen levels so i can hit workout after workout hard.
*Sidenote: I always use My Fitness Pal to log food when something feels off, whether its energy, tight pants, breakouts, migraines, anything – log food for a couple weeks and look for patterns. My recent pattern was a PB overload.
Couple changes I made immediately were adding a mini whole wheat bagel to breakfast, 110 calories, 22g carbs.
When i’m craving excess calories or reaching for the pb jar i’ve been making protein shakes and adding a little pb to the shake. And on days i’m doing more than an easy run (like two-a-days where I Crossfit in the morning and run in the afternoons) I make sure to eat carbs like potatoes or rice the night before and I either have a Picky Bar or Rx Bar about an hour before my second workout (22-28g carbs).
I’ve been eating a low carb/high fat/high protein diet for the last year and a half and it’s been working just fine, until i started seriously lifting heavy and running volume on top of it. It’s just not a feasible diet anymore. I’m trying out a pseudo-carb cycling plan where I have 3-4 higher carb days (specifically for two-a-days) and a couple lower carb/higher protein + fat days when I’m not doubling workouts or long running.
I think the key here is to plan for nutrition changes when starting a new training cycle. I’ve made this mistake over and over, forgetting to increase overall calories as my mileage increases or even changing up the type of calories i’m eating. Again, I’m going to do a better job at logging food and hopefully i can train smarter not harder. Also-i’m not a nutritionist or a dietitian. I’m just changing some stuff up based on what myself and a few dudes discussed in the gym. If you have questions or comments feel free to ask away, but i’m not an expert in this area!
Just these few changes over the last two weeks have made a huge difference in my energy levels and i’m finally feeling some speed in the running workouts. Now I gotta grab some carbs for my run later 😉
Monday: 9.5m interval ( 3 x 2m @ 6:44/pace)
Tuesday: 5m easy 9:14/pace
Wednesday: 3m easy 9:00/pace, 5 x 5 front squats @ 115#, 2m cooldown 9:30/pace
Thursday: Crossfit, 10m tempo (7m @ 7:03/pace)
Saturday: Crossfit, 11m long 8:03/pace
Sunday: 8m easy 9:23/pace
Total Miles: 48.5
How do you increase overall calories during training?
Do you count macros or try to eat a certain high fat/protein/or carb diet?
02/20/2017 at 7:59 AM
I think I usually get caught up in increasing calories when I am training for a marathon or training hard for a half (which I haven’t in a whileeeeee eek), and not the type of calories that I’m eating like you discovered. You put in so much work, your body needs the fuel girl. It’s hard when you aren’t as fired up about race, but maybe you’ll find that race weekend.
02/20/2017 at 3:34 PM
yeah usually i just increase calories too, but the pb is bogging me down 😦 i’m sad that i actually had to say that. and yes, i’m hoping to find the race day fire as the day gets closer!
02/20/2017 at 10:28 AM
Sounds like some smart changes – though I had to laugh as you talked about making this same mistake every time. Don’t we ALL just do stuff like that?!?!? You think you’d learn … but not. 🙂
I do my best to not worry about calories or the macro ratios but instead go off how I am feeling and adjust to that. A few weeks ago when it was colder and we had a number of snow and high wind days, I was starting to get achy and fatigued so I upped my intake, and then lowered it when I wasn’t even hungry by lunch time (I know, right?!?!). I don’t really control which direction things go – so sometimes it will be more carbs, or more protein, or more fat.
Beware over-thinking … I think the mental stress of starting mid-plan has you feeling like you are in catch-up mode, so watch the ‘terrible toos’ – too much, too soon, too fast. I feel your insane fitness level has you pretty well set for stuff, but always be careful. It is better to miss a PR than to get a stress fracture. Well, that is how I tend to live my running life anyway.
02/20/2017 at 3:36 PM
yes! Ridiculous that i haven’t learned better haha. And i’m glad going off feel works for you. I’m such a creature of habit with my food that once I start going off of feel, it’s too late and i’m crashing and burning! And definitely not over thinking too much because you’re right, i don’t want stress fractures or any other injuries. After this race i’m taking legitimate time off from racing for a few months. I need a mental break !!
02/21/2017 at 5:49 PM
Hi- I found this super helpful to read. I can relate, I’m on my highest mileage week for a spring marathon, and I just can’t get enough sleep. my mood is low, and energy is low, and i know its because i’m not increasing calories/eating smart calories. i’ll begin training again in july for the NY marathon, and i’m planning to use a pretty aggressive training program (pfitzinger) and i want to make sure i treat nutrition as part of that training cycle….i guess i’m worried that if i re-introduce carbs into my life i wont stop! best of luck with your continued training! i hope your race goes well!
02/23/2017 at 8:05 AM
it’s amazing how timing your carbs right can help with energy. Start logging your food now, and try increasing just a little at a time and see how it helps. All calories are definitely not created equal, so be sure they are quality carbohydrates. My favorites are sweet potatoes 🙂 and yeah no need to open the flood gates with carbs, just use them as another tool to help your running!
02/23/2017 at 11:42 PM
Man i took so much out of this.
1. We are in a similar spot, I want the sub 1:30 real bad but I need a lot of work to get it even though I’m only 5 min away. But I’m having more fun adventuring on the trails and hitting long runs.
2. My nutrition is so up and down. I need to be more consistent. If I have a few beers, I can do a short run just fine. That tells me i can have a few before ANY run…um no. Plus i need to get more sleep.
Wow way to make us face the music lol.
02/24/2017 at 7:17 PM
i feel like the fact that i’m enjoying crossfit, like you’re enjoying the trails is a good thing though. It gives us a big mental break from those lofty time goals, keeps us happy and then when we’re ready we can shoot for the 1:30! I’m not trying to make anyone but myself face the music. It’s hard to train hard if you’re not recovering right, and the food is so important 🙂
02/27/2017 at 1:07 PM
Yeah yeah, I know what’s going on here. Yes I need to face the music, I get it lol
02/24/2017 at 1:55 PM
I’m still trying to figure out how the hell you manage that many miles AND crossfit. Also, when you did front squats on Wednesday, did you have any idea what was on tap for Thursday’s crossfit? I’m struggling with having fresh legs. But I realize that one thing you seem great at is to run hard on hard days and easy on the easy days. I need to figure out what’s hard/easy for me and manage those days I guess.
02/24/2017 at 7:20 PM
any lifting i do on my own is just a shot in the dark when it comes to crossfit haha. I did power cleans this wednesday and thursday morning we did dumbbell cleans. So there are definitely days where I’m doing the same movement back to back, i just adjust up or down the weight depending on how I feel. Struggling to have fresh legs.. i don’t even know what fresh legs are anymore. hahah But yes- running super easy on easy days (for me, like a 9-10min pace) and hard on hard days really help!
03/07/2017 at 8:44 PM
Hi Cori! I’ve always been interested in the nutrition aspect. How do you calculate your calories / macronutrients? and how do you adjust your calories as your mileage increases?
I usually have that problem. When my mileage increases I start eating like a guy. Literally. I don’t gain weight but I do wonder If I’m eating according to what my body needs.
03/07/2017 at 9:28 PM
Hi Nathaly! Honestly i’m still in trial n error mode. I don’t function well if I eat less than 2000 calories a day, in or out of heavy training. When I do 2-a-days or when i was heavy marathon training 50-60 miles per week i tried to eat closer to 2500-2800 hundred calories. The macro nutrients (right now) i’m aiming for is 40% carbs, 35% fat, 25% protein. I’m still messing with these numbers. Basically i’m trying to up my protein and carb intake (for recovery and performance purposes) i’m 135lbs, so i’m trying to get my protein closer to 1g of protein per lb, but anything over 110 is a good day for me! I feel like if you’re not losing or gaining weight you’re probably doing the right thing. The tips i’ve gotten from athletes are focusing on getting your protein in first (regardless of calories) and then calories are next in line of importance (and of course the kind of calories you eat). And listen to your body’s signals- a real big problem for me was eating too much pb-i wasn’t getting full from it. My body was craving calories, but that wasn’t the right kind. I needed some good carbs (potatoes, beets, carrots, fruit etc).
does this answer your question? There’s so many different directions to go with this one!
03/07/2017 at 11:20 PM
Yes!! thank you so much! 2000
Calories? Wow, I have no idea on what my body needs to function well on a regular daily basis.
03/08/2017 at 6:44 AM
ok awesome! and like i said, lots of experimenting going on right now, i hope i can talk more in detail about it soon, especially since i’ve been tracking my daily intake.