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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?


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One More Time

Hopefully this will be the last time i talk about this ankle injury because I’m ready to move on and start looking forward! For the first few weeks of wearing a compression sock and limping my way around the gym, I had many peeps ask me what I did wrong—and i had no real answer. That outside-the-ankle-pain and overall tightness just hit me hard one morning during the marathon taper. It never came through during training, it wasn’t something I was hiding from my coach or myself. I’ve spent long nights looking over my training log and trying to figure out what the heck i did… and I think I’m finally realizing it wasn’t one thing, it was several that and I should have known better. But hey, injuries are for learning if anything else right??

Here’s how it went down.

I increased mileage, speed, and didn’t increase recovery time. Specifically (or pacifically if you want to be punched) I should have taken extra time off immediately after the USA 1/2 in March.  I didn’t have a giant PR and I wasn’t  terribly sore after, but I should have taken off a solid 5-7 days. I think i took 3. A race is a race, and it is still physically and mentally demanding even though i felt fine.

The 18 miler. Remember the one i did on the dirt towpath? It was the exact path the marathon was going to be held on. Here’s where I’m an idiot. I don’t run on dirt.. ever. I run on asphalt bike paths. I don’t know why I thought my first time on dirt trails should be my most important, LONGEST run of my entire training plan. I should have done shorter trials first to get my legs accustomed to the terrain. I blame the crazy spring weather on not letting me get out on the dirt often enough and my own lack of common sense.

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The New Balance Minimus shoes. I accidentally did 2 training runs in these, because i forgot my normal running shoes. Again–here i go running without common sense–Everyone knows you can’t drop from a 4mm shoe to frickin’ ZERO without easing into it right? Not this Einstein here. Not only did i run in these, i did track work in them. Speed work, in zero drop shoes the first time I ran in them.

This run (in the New Balance’s) was the first time i noticed ankle pain during push off (April 13th). I assumed it was just an “off” day, but little did i know that zero drop could have been the factor that strained my soleus in the first place.

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Don’t get all up in arms–I’m not knocking zero drop shoes, it’s just common knowledge that you just don’t change to barefoot shoes in the middle of training. Again, bad decision making on my end. (for the record though, those are my FAVORITE shoes for lifting and walking in all day. I have never had any foot pain, arch pain or leg pain in those.)

The final thing looking back, and I’ve mentioned this a few times, is the warm up and recovery part of running. If I want to run more and run faster I need to warm up longer and recover better. End of story. I can’t skip this stuff anymore. Easy, long or hill work, i need to warm up my muscles and ankles. Afterward I need to consume a post-workout snack, ice my legs, compress and foam roll. It sounds like a lot of work, but if it means I can get back to racing, i’ll do it!

Weekly Workouts

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 3m easy, 20 min chest/biceps

Wednesday: 20 min back, pushups +major leg stretching

Thursday: 3.5m easy, 10 min abs

Friday: 30 min triceps/shoulders, 15 min quads

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 4.4m easy

Total Miles: 13.1 <—i did not do that on purpose, but i’m taking it as a good sign!

Do you guys go over training plans when injured? 


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Secret Weapons for Marathon Week

Before this marathon happens in *gulp* 6 days, I have to get things organized. The day before a marathon should be spent resting and inhaling ingesting carbs. Don’t overwhelm yourself by leaving a ton to do/organize/layout the week and night before.

The week of the marathon (i.e. right now!) I make trips to Target, grocery store or a running store to have exactly what i need for race week/day. Over the weekend, I picked up Gatorade, Honey Stinger gel & chews, bagels. What I forgot was anti-chafe cream. Totally slipped my mind. Another good reason to shop early in the week–you will forget something. Plan on running out to the store 2-3 times for last minute items. I usually make a list and then leave it on the table at home. It’s the thought that counts.. unless your thoughts are left behind, of course.

I do my running laundry in the middle of the week so most of my clothes are clean. Heaven forbid the night before a race my favorite shorts are dirty and i’m up late waiting for laundry to finish. I just bought these 2 pairs of Under Armour shorts over the weekend, super comfy, and long enough inseam so the thighs aren’t rubbing together–now which color to wear??

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Put a Marathon Playlist together.  This is a big one for me because I love setting the tone of a race to music. This training cycle I listened to a lot of Say Anything, Reliant K, the Starting Line, Jimmy Eat World, The Thermals…So i’m probably not venturing out too far. I have a secret weapon though.. and i’ve wanted to share it for a long time. I listen to this Dj called Pogo and if you haven’t listened to his stuff you need to do it RIGHT NOW. Pogo remixes a lot of Disney music which brings back a ton of memories, makes running feel fun and keeps my legs churning. There is nothing like running on trails listening to this guy.. i swear it will change you.

The week before a marathon is a good time to stress out, freak out, question your training etc.. As i said plenty of times before–i’m working very hard on positive thinking before, during and after a race. A good way for me to do this is not to fine comb my training log and focus on,  well, what I’ll be focusing on during the race. Where will my positive thinking drive from? What do i tell myself when my body wants to quit in the later miles?

My go-to mantra has been “earn the downhill” because most of my races have been extremely hilly. This time around I might use something Shalane Flanagan mentioned in a recent article, her mantra during Boston was something her coach says to her, “don’t lose your shit.” She wanted to keep calm, cool & focused. I don’t have one as of yet, but i’m working on it!

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new shorts, new shoes ❤

So there you go, my secret weapons to have a race day go well, get your fuel & race day items ready way beforehand, get a playlist/mantra together, lay out your exact clothes & relax the day before while your iPod/phone/garmin are charging ;). Also- I have a check list from an old post that I’m going to update below, so if you want to just copy and print, it will help for the week of your race!

Race Checklist 

__Garmin Watch (charged!)

__Ipod/armband/headphones (charged!)

__Sports Bra

__Shorts/Capri’s/Throwaway pants

__Shirt/or Throwaway Shirt

__Socks/Compression Socks

__Running Shoes

__Sandals & after race clothes/deodorant/body wipes

__Anti-Chafe Cream

__Aspirin/pain reliever (for after race)

__Sunscreen/Sunglasses/hat

__Hair ties/headbands

__Gels or Sports Drinks/Water/Nuun/Pre-Race Food (doesn’t hurt to have extra left in your car, hotel, or with family)

__Race Confirmation/Course Map (for friends or family who are attending & for race morning!)

Last Week’s Work

Monday: 6m fartlek 7:26/pace, 35 min biceps/back, 30 min abs

Tuesday: 5m easy 8:10/pace

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 10m easy 7:51/pace, 15 min abs

Friday: 30 min TRX full body, 10 abs

Saturday: 3.2 easy 8:50/pace

Sunday: 5.4 tempo 7:44/pace

Total Miles: 30

What is your “power song” or mantra you use during a race?

What else should I add to my Race Checklist??

 


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Tapering Thoughts…

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 10m easy 7:51/pace, 15 min abs

I woke up this morning and realized i’m like 9 days out from a marathon. Nine!! I’m so excited that I get to run a marathon (injury free!) to test out my running fitness. I know I talk about qualifying for Boston a lot here, but this race isn’t my ‘A’ race to qualify, however this marathon will give me a good idea of how much work is ahead of me in order to run under a 3:35:00 and qualify. I have a few goals i will be focusing on and have been focusing on during long runs. Tapering always brings up a lot of “what if’s”, goals, racing plans, and craziness.

1) I want to Run Strong. I want to avoid going out fast & fizzling out my energy early. I want to feel strong and in control as long as possible. That means slower, even pacing so that my 2nd half, especially the last 6.2 miles can possibly be a negative split. #tryingtoavoidthefreakingwall

2) I want to Run Fueled. I’ve been practicing eating smaller amounts of Honey Stinger Fruit Snacks (Cherry Cola has my heart!) more frequently through a run. I’ve noticed a big difference in sustained energy and I appreciate all my readers & coach for helping me come to this realization. Also–I’m not a big fan of chewing while running (i’m not coordinated) and i know a lot of you don’t like to either. Lauren told me to just put a chew in the side of your mouth in your teeth or cheek & it will melt away without blocking your airways. This little trick has been coming in handy.

from the trail when my mom  was in town

the trail where the Marathon is going to be held 

3) I want to Run a PR. Who doesn’t? My PR right now is a 4:28:28. Based on my current training & mile splits & years working at the half marathon distance, i imagine this will be easy to break. Then again, a marathon is a different beast and “easy” is not usually associated. Haha When I ran my 4:28 race, i crossed the start line thinking a sub 4:00 marathon was in the bag. I can’t really assume anything with a marathon. But I do know i’m training smart, i’m healthy & I like running a lot more than I did back then.

I don’t usually like posting my time goals, but what the heck, it’s not the race I’m trying to go for the BQ and finishing a 2nd marathon is going to be a huge boost!

C) Anything under 4:28 to PR.

B) Sub 4:00

A) 3:45, I think this might be doable for race day if everything goes well.

 

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Flex Friday!

The remaining runs i have are all 6 miles or under… I can already feel my legs getting antsy & the speed coming out. I thought I was beginning to lose all speed because those high mileage weeks really took all my energy and I felt slow, heavy & slow some more. Once the mileage went down my speed was just where I left it, now I just have to remember to save that speed for the last part of the race!

pigeon pose

pigeon pose 

Until the marathon i’ll be doing the norm — stretching, foam rolling, light cross training, and eating my carbs.

What is a MUST during a taper?

stretching & a shake out run the day before

How many goals do you have for a race?

I always have at least 2 minimum!